All-Star Game at Minnesota

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ten Memorable Years

Well, my loyal readers, this will be my final post for 2009, and of this decade as well. It is my 660th post of the year, and my 2,533rd post since I began this blog back in 2006. (We actually had fewer posts this year than in either 2007 or 2008, and I would guess the sudden exit of the Red Sox from postseason had something to do with it.)

We had over 55,000 hits on the blog this year, with the busiest day being May 8th, when we had the most hits ever in one day at The Mighty Quinn Media Machine. (It was the sudden departure of Jerry Remy from the Red Sox broadcast booth because of his illness. We had 883 hits that day.)

Another decade is drawing to an end, and I can't help think back to December 31, 1999, and how much my life has changed since then. (Remember all that "Y2K" nonsense, and how the world was going to collapse on January 1, 2000?)

I wasn't a blogger yet, but I enjoyed being on the computer very much. I worked for a company called Bayside Distribution as a sales rep to many audio stores in New York, Long Island and Connecticut. (I was laid off in July 2000.) I wasn't a trivia host or acting in movies and TV yet. (Bayside was owned by Tower Records, and it disappeared when Tower went out of business in 2006.)

The Red Sox had just made the postseason in 1998 and 1999, and Pedro Martinez was the best pitcher in baseball. I rarely went into bars to watch Red Sox games. I didn't have the MLB package yet (it didn't exist at the time), and mostly watched the Red Sox on ESPN and Fox. But it was a dark time to be rooting for the Sox as the MFY had just won their third World Series in four years. But I was still a big Red Sox supporter, just as big as I am now.

The Minnesota Vikings had lost that awful NFC title game in January 1999, but were still one of the top teams in the NFL. 2000 would be a turning point, and they played one of the worst games in their history in January 2001 against the Giants, and Dennis Green would soon be gone. I hoping that as the decade ends, they are about to pass another turning point. We'll see.

"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" was setting the world on fire with its ratings and I was hooked as a fan since its first night in August 1999. I had resolved one day to get on that show. (No one at the time said to me, "Be careful what you wish for, John...")

12/31/99 also didn't have what would become one of my favorite playthings: the iPod. I guess that would be my favorite thing about 2009. I finally got one, and absolutely got hooked on it. I only wish I had gotten one when they first hit the market in 2001.

In future years, I will remember this decade for two days of my life that changed me in ways I could never have imagined in 1999, and I don't have to explain what happened on either day.

September 11, 2001 and October 27, 2004.

They are polar opposite days of the spectrum in terms of deep, unabiding sadness and incredible, blissful joy.

But they will both forever be a part of me, wherever I go in this world.

I started off this decade as a music sales rep, waiting for that elusive Red Sox championship that many said we'd never see in our lifetimes. I end it as a Trivia Night host and background actor, and an eyewitness to not just one, but two Red Sox World Series championships. (It would take me all day and night to fully explain how 9/11/01 changed me. That's for another time.)

Now, if the Vikings can just win a Super Bowl...

I want to thank each and every one of you who comes to my site, whether you end up here accidentally or have become a regular reader. It is a joy for me to do write here, and I thank all of you who have written to me here.

I hope 2010 will be a year of peace and happiness for us all.

Welcome to Amateur Night

Well, we've reached the final day of this year, as well as decade. So naturally it's time for some people to act like complete morons, get totally wasted and welcome in a New Year.

It's Amateur Night tonight, and I religiously stay away from that nonsense. I think in my whole life I have been away from home at the stroke of midnight on New Year's on just three or four occasions.

Many years ago, I decided to stay in every year at this time. I rather be home watching "The Twilight Zone" on the Sci-Fi Channel, "The Honeymooners" marathon on WPIX (it's a shame WGN isn't doing that again this year, as it was fun to go back and forth between stations last year as they were both going on), college football bowl games, and whatever other marathons were running on the tube. (WGN will have a "Barney Miller" marathon during the day on Friday. That was always a cool show.)

I'd be together with a few family members and friends, and have a toast at midnight, and then I do my "running up and down the street like a crazy man" routine to welcome in the New Year. Don't know exactly how many years I've been doing it; I think it's around 25 now. And I'll do it tonight again as well.

Traditions live with me.

Everyone will focus on Times Square tonight, as hundreds of thousands of folks will be out in the snow and cold to watch the ball drop and usher in 2010. I've never been there live and in person for it. I watch it every year on TV. (I used to watch Dick Clark do it every year, but once he had his stroke and makes that sad cameo appearance every year, I've been avoiding it. And don't get me started on Ryan Seacrest!) I've always said it, and I'll say it again. Only three types of people go to Times Square on New Year's Eve: tourists, cops and pickpockets.

So I'll be home in Brooklyn to usher in 2010. I want to wish everyone who stops by The Mighty Quinn Media Machine a very happy 2010. May the new decade be one of peace and happiness for you.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Diamond Covered In Ice

My friend Eddie sent me this time-elapsed video of Fenway Park adding the hockey rink for the Winter Classic at the Fens between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers on Friday afternoon.

Good stuff.

Trivia Q&A: December 29

On a brutally cold night in New York, we had a large crowd come out for the final Trivia Night of the year, as well as the decade. No matter the weather, people have to have their Trivia! The Syracuse basketball game brought some folks in, but 18 teams took part in our Trivia contest.

The scores were a bit low for Current Events, which surprised me a bit, as I thought they were rather easy. We brought back the audio round for The Q Train, and most folks did quite well in it, and the scores for Trivia of the Decade were pretty respectable too.

We had three teams get all five questions in IQ Trivia correct, and one of those teams, Charlie Sheen's Kids, captured the title with that, jumping from second place to win by a single point. Nice job everyone.

Thanks for making it yet another special year, everyone. I am especially grateful to all the regulars who turn out week in and week out, and I thank you all so much for your loyalty. Running our Trivia Night is a joy for me to do, and hopefully it will be better than ever in 2010.

We will be back with our first Trivia Night of the new decade and year next Tuesday, January 5th, at 9 PM. Happy New Year everyone.

Current Events
1. This capital city's Legislative Assembly legalized same-sex marriage last week, the first such recognition in Latin America.
2. This tennis superstar was selected as the Associated Press' "Female Athlete of the Year" for 2009, and award she also won in 2002.
3. This legendary rock star's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame went missing last week, and at first it was thought to have been stolen, but it was moved next to one of his bandmates as a tribute to his group.
4. This troubled pop singer was arrested last week in England and charged in connection with an assault after she was heckled at a performance.
5. TV star Charlie Sheen spent Christmas Day in jail after he was arrested in this town on domestic violence charges.
6. A 23-year-old man, a native of this country, was charged with attempting to destroy a Detroit-bound airliner from Amsterdam on Christmas Day.
7. This singer/songwriter died on Christmas Day after spending a number of days in a coma after taking an overdose of muscle relaxants.

Answers: 1. Mexico City; 2. Serena Williams; 3. John Lennon; 4. Amy Winehouse; 5. Aspen, CO; 6. Nigeria; 7. Vic Chestnutt.

Trivia of the Decade
1. This NFL team won their first Super Bowl title in 2002 at Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans.
2. In 2001, this European country became the first to grant same-sex marriage.
3. On December 20th of this year, the New York City transit system was shut down for three days by a strike.
4. In 2007, 13 people were killed when a bridge collapsed in this US city during the late afternoon rush hour.
5. This film won a record-tying 11 Oscars in 2004, including Best Picture and Best Director.
6. In 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger wins a California election for governor, after this man, who was the current governor, was recalled.
7. Northwest Airlines merged with this airline in 2008 to form the world's largest commercial airline.

Answers: 1. New England Patriots; 2. Netherlands; 3. 2005; 4. Minneapolis; 5. "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King;" 6. Gray Davis; 7. Delta Air Lines.

Classic TV Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. I Dream of Jeannie
2. The Addams Family
3. Peter Gunn
4. The Munsters
5. Hawaii Five-O
6. Mary Tyler Moore Show
7. Taxi
8. The Twilight Zone
9. Laverne and Shirley
10. Mission Impossible

General Knowledge
1. In 1986, who, at age 20, became the youngest heavyweight champion in history? (1 pt)
2. Who did Friedrich Engels collaborate with to write The Communist Manifesto? (1 pt)
3. What actor is best known for his role as the monster in the 1931 film, "Frankenstein?" (1 pt)
4. How many Academy Awards did the classic film "Ben Hur" win in total? (2 pt)
5. Elvis Presley made his acting debut in 1956 in what film? (2 pt)
6. What magazine devoted to music and popular culture was first published in 1967? (2 pt)
7. In 1847, Sir James Simpson was the first surgeon to use what substance as an anaesthetic? (3 pt)

Answers: 1. Mike Tyson; 2. Karl Marx; 3. Boris Karloff; 4. eleven; 5. "Love Me Tender;" 6. Rolling Stone; 7. chloroform.

IQ Trivia
1. What astronomer in 1922 proved the existence of other galaxies besides the Milky Way? ( 5 points)
2. In 1493, Christopher Columbus set foot on an island he called San Juan Bautista. What is it called today? ( 4 points)
3. Civil war broke out when what country gained independence from Portugal in 1975? ( 4 points)
4. If you suffer from entomophobia, what are you afraid of? ( 3 points)
5. What was the first state admitted to the United States after the original thirteen? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. Edwin Hubble; 2. Puerto Rico; 3. Angola; 4. insects; 5. Vermont (1791).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Guess The Money Was Better In Queens Than Beirut

Reports surfaced today that the Mets are about to sign Jason Bay to a contract, and that it will be announced by the team next week, after he takes a physical.

It looked for all the world that Bay didn't want to play at Citi Field, and Peter Gammons mentioned this on WEEI recently:

Any chance Jason Bay ends up back with the Red Sox as opposed to in Queens?
Gammo's response:
I think he’d rather be playing in Beirut than Queens.

It's a move that makes sense for the Mets, as well as Bay. Sounded like no one was going to give him a five-year deal (the one with the Mets is rumored to be for four years at $66 million) he was seeking, and the Mets desperately needed a good corner outfield bat. I put no stock into those rumors about him coming back to Boston after the Sox signed Mike Cameron.

How much will Bay miss Fenway, while hitting in the airport known as Citi Field? We'll find out.

Totally Inexcusable

The Minnesota Vikings embarrassed me as a fan with their crappy, half-assed effort in the first half against an awful Chicago Bears team playing out the schedule on Monday night. A Chicago defense missing many of their regulars, and without their best wide receiver.

The Vikings seemed to get some dignity back in the second half and forced a 30-30 tie in the final seconds, but kicker Ryan Longwell and the special teams cost them this game (and of course the Adrian Peterson OT fumble didn't help either). Longwell missed an extra point, and the special teams gave up three long kickoff returns on short kicks that Chicago turned into big points.

The New Orleans Saints were HANDING the Vikings home field throughout the playoffs and they wouldn't take it.

It was simply an inexcusable loss to a bad football team. The Vikings had everything to play for, the Bears had nothing but pride on the line. And right now, they seem to have more of it than the Vikings do.

New Orleans now gets the home field advantage in the NFC, and the Vikings need a Dallas win over Philly this Sunday in order to get the first round bye, as well as a win over the Giants.

So once again I'm forced to be a Dallas Cowboys fan this season.

But now you have to wonder even if the Vikings snatch away the first round bye, how far can they go in the playoffs? Right now, it would not surprise me one bit to see them get knocked out in their first home playoff game.

They haven't proven anything to me. They've left more questions unanswered, and they've embarrassed their loyal fans like me with their shoddy, lackluster play in three of the last four weeks.

And I have this terrible feeling they will rue the day they gave Brad Childress that contract extension earlier this year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Media Machine Honors The Sports Machine

I was saddened last week to learn of the passing of George Michael (the sportscaster, not that dimwit singer) from leukemia at the age of 70. (I could make a cheap joke about the wrong George Michael dying last week, but I'll pass on that.)

He is best known for "The George Michael Sports Machine," a late-night Sunday night sports wrapup show that ran for an amazing 27 years on NBC, from 1980-2007. I was always a big fan of the show, in an era when I didn't have cable (I didn't get it until 1993), so ESPN wasn't available to me.

I have to admit I loved George's sometime over-the-top style, and he could make things like NASCAR and Rodeo from Wyoming seem like the greatest sports in the world. His show had a really catchy theme with a ton of highlights from all around the sports landscape.

My earliest memories of George was as a disk jockey on WABC here in New York, and he had the 6-10 PM shift during the mid-to-late 1970s. He was on the air the night of the infamous blackout, on July 13, 1977. (I missed the whole thing, as I was in Florida with my family on vacation and didn't get back home until two days later.) He moved over to the TV side in the late 1970s, doing sports on WABC-TV, before going to Washington and launching The Machine. (I have to admit that when I named this blog, his show crossed my mind, having a similar name.)

I never knew that George was offered a gig with the Mets as a broadcaster, when the great Lindsey Nelson left the team following the 1978 season. He ultimately turned it down and left New York. Here is a story about his life from The New York Times.

My deepest sympathies to the friends and family of George Michael on his passing. To honor his memory, here is a clip from his Sports Machine, and it is from August 26, 1990. And for this blog, it's quite appropriate, as he leads with the Red Sox shutting out the Blue Jays in Toronto, 1-0, a third straight shutout by the Sox, in a division race they would ultimately go on to win. (I love his line, "This Red Sox team has no fold in their vocabulary. It doesn't exist." And they held on and won the East that year.)



Thanks for the memories, George.

As The Aughts (Or 2000s) Conclude


This Tuesday night will be our final Trivia Night for this decade. (They never really came up with a good name to describe this decade: "The 2000s", "The Aughts." Nothing ever sounded right. In this upcoming decade, what are we going to call it: "The Tens?" "The Teens?" They both sound horrible.) So to honor this turbulent decade, we will have as our Special Category: "Trivia of the Decade." It will be seven questions about the years between 2000 and 2009.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Audio Classic TV Themes Trivia." I will give you brief parts of ten themes from famous TV shows, mostly from the 1960s and 1970s, on audio and you will tell me what show it is.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
In 1986, who, at age 20, became the youngest heavyweight boxing champion in history?

We will start the festivities at 9 PM as usual. We had a fine crowd for our Christmas Trivia last week, and I hope to see many of you for our 2009 finale.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Still Hate Those New York Rags

A few months ago, I finally had enough of reading the New York papers and swore them off. I was tired of reading their BS, especially last September 12th when both New York tabloids felt that Derek Jeter's Yankees hit record was more important news than the 8th anniversary remembrance at Ground Zero the day before. I certainly haven't regretted that decision.

But today I stumbled across something on the NY Daily News web site that I should have passed on but didn't. They had one of those "Best of the Decade in New York Sports" things, and I just about winced when I saw they picked the 2000 Yankees as "The Best Team of the Decade."

Are you f**king kidding me? That team is the third worst team in baseball history to win a World Series, having won just 87 games. (Only the 2006 Cardinals and the 1987 Twins were worse.) You could make a case for this past Yankees team as the best of the 2000s, as they had the best record of any team to win a World Series in this decade. But that Yankees team of 2000 lost 16 of their last 19 games, stumbling into the playoffs. But they righted the ship in time to beat the Mets in the World Series in five games. (It doesn't matter that it was New York's third straight title. This was not a great team. They'll be better remembered as the team with the most number of players in the Mitchell Report.)

And for the worst team: the 2007 and 2008 Mets teams? Again, you pick those teams over those putrid Knicks, Islanders and Jets teams of this decade? Sure, those Mets teams have the indignity of two unbelievable collapses. But they were still good teams for the better part of those seasons. If you're going to put good teams that collapsed on this list, then where are the 2004 Yankees on it? You know, the one that was just three outs from a sweep going into the World Series and made baseball history as the first team ever to blow a 3-0 lead in the postseason. Funny how they were passed over.

It just seems to reinforce the perception of many fans in New York that there is an pro-Yankees/anti-Mets bias in these papers. I'm not so sure those fans are wrong.

Anyway, inane lists like these are just another reason why I don't read these New York rags anymore.

In Memory of Lance

My friend Curtis put together this wonderful video tribute to our friend Lance Berry, who passed away earlier this year at the all-too-young age of 43. Lance was a beautiful soul I worked with at Tower Records in the 1980s.



We miss you Lance. And thank you, Curtis.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

And It's Been Two Years Since The Sox Won It All

I've seen a column or two over the last few days about how "The Curse of the Bambino is turning 90." Apparently, the 90th anniversary of the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees is coming up in early January.

First off, this "curse" bullshit never existed. It was all media-created nonsense to taunt the Red Sox and their fans, and to sell books. (And how come NOBODY talked about curses and jinxes before the Curly Haired Bastard wrote that infamous book in 1990?)

Want to read a really good take on why the Red Sox had to sell Ruth to the Yankees, and why he couldn't have been dealt anywhere else? Read "Red Sox Century" by Richard Johnson and Glenn Stout (pictured), which in my opinion is the best Red Sox history book I've ever read. It's a better use of your time.

And even if this silly nonsense did really exist, it all came to an end on October 27, 2004. So frankly, who cares about this upcoming "anniversary?" (Actually, the trade didn't take effect until January 5, 1920, after Ruth was found in California and notified of it, after the clubs agreed to the deal on December 26, 1919.)

Sorry for all the colorful language, but this is a subject that always gets me going. The "taunting" doesn't work any more, guys, which I know breaks CHB's heart.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

To One and All, Merry Christmas


I want to wish all of my friends, family and readers of The Mighty Quinn Media Machine a very Merry Christmas, wherever you are. Once again my gift to you, the burning Yule Log, which I put on the side of this blog a few weeks ago. "The Yule Log" is a tradition that started here on New York television back in the mid-1960s on WPIX-TV, and they would have the log burning in a continuous loop as Christmas music played in the background. It became extremely popular on Christmas Eve, but in the late 1990s they made the wrongheaded decision to take it off, and after many folks complained about it, it was brought back on Christmas mornings, and this year it will run from 9AM to 1 PM.

"The Yule Log" is one of those things I love about this season, my favorite time of year. (And the classic film "March of the Wooden Soldiers" always follows it on Channel 11 in the afternoon.)

Merry Christmas everyone.

That's What Christmas Is All About

Linus Van Pelt reminds us what this holiday is all about.



Thank you Linus.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Is This Anything To Worry About?

Well, as the football world knows too well, Brett Favre and Brad Childress had "an animated discussion" on the sidelines during the horrible 26-7 loss by the Vikings to Carolina on Sunday night.

Apparently, Childress is pissed at Favre for some of his audibles at the line of scrimmage, even the ones that proved to be correct and worked. Favre is miffed at Childress for considering to remove him from three different games, the ones against Detroit, Green Bay and Carolina.

It seems to me that Favre wants to run the whole offensive show, and Childress is putting his foot down, letting Favre and the other players know he indeed calls the shots.

Why am I not surprised at all this?

Well, when you bring on a player of Favre's caliber (as well as ego), you can expect him to want to do things his way. I'm sure both player and coach will downplay the incident from Sunday night when they talk to press on Wednesday.

The Vikings offense has been in an horrific slump the past two road games, and they play their final one in Chicago on Monday night, and it will be the coldest game the Vikings will have played in this year.

The Vikes have a whole lot to prove on Monday night. The ship is going in the wrong direction, and another flat, listless performance aginst a Bears team playing out the season may signal to the Vikings detractors that they are really just a pretender that played over their heads this season. They also have to calm down the fan base, as the nerves and doubts are bubbling to the surface.

The Philadelphia Eagles are breathing down the necks of the Vikings, and if both teams are tied at the conclusion of the season, Philly gets the first round bye. And the Vikes will rue the Carolina game from the rest of the year if that happens.

So it's up to everyone to get back on the same page and focus on beating Chicago on Monday. Especially the two guys with the biggest egos in the room.

May You All Have a Happy Festivus

It's for the rest of us.

Trivia Q&A: December 22

I wasn't sure what kind of crowd we'd get in for out last Trivia Night before Christmas. About 40 minutes before our scheduled start, Professor Thom's was relatively quiet, but fortunately we had a late arriving crowd, and 16 teams took part, with a good group turning out.

We had a three-way tie for the first three rounds for the lead, and it looked like it might go that way until the end. The scores were pretty good for Christmas Trivia, and five of the 16 teams got at least one wrong in "All or Nothing Trivia."

We had two teams run the table in the IQ Trivia round, and one of them was one of the tied for first place teams, so the team of Santa and His Old Lady was the winner, and by three points. Congratulations to Rob and Tom on their win, Rob's first time in the winner's circle in quite some time.

We will be back again next Tuesday night, December 29th, for our final Trivia Night of the year and the decade, at the usual start time of 9 PM.

Current Events
1. This American female pop singer ripped Prince William's love of hunting in a magazine interview recently, calling him "like a redneck from the south."
2. The White House plans to move 100 terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to a prison in this state, which GOP House members from that state warned it would become "ground zero for Jihadist terrorist plots."
3. This 33-year-old sports superstar was named last week by the Associated Press as their "Athlete of the Decade."
4. Boeing's newest jet airliner, the Dreamliner, made it maiden flight last week. By what number is the airliner going by?
5. This company announced it will not advertise in this upcoming Super Bowl, ending a 23-year run so the company can focus on a new marketing effort that will appear mostly online.
6. A court in this country found that Google infringed on the copyright of a publisher there, and they were ordered to pay him $500,000 and nearly $15,000 a day until the publisher's book extracts were removed.
7. Chris Henry, a wide receiver on this NFL team, fell out of the back of a pickup truck last week and died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Answers: 1. Pink; 2. Illinois; 3. Tiger Woods; 4. 787; 5. Pepsi; 6. France; 7. Cincinnati Bengals.

Christmas Trivia
1. What Christmas song, released in 1958, is still the only one to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart?
2. In "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, what was the name of Scrooge's deceased business partner?
3. How many gifts would you receive in total if you received all of the gifts in the song "The 12 Days of Christmas?"
4. How much did Lucy charge for a psychiatric session with Charlie Brown in the classic TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas?"
5. What immortal actor was the narrator of the classic Christmas special "How the Grinch Stole Christmas?"
6. What Christmas film is set in the town of Bedford Falls?
7. If you were born on Christmas Day, what is your zodiac sign?

Answers: 1. "The Chipmunk Song;" 2. Jacob Marley; 3. 364; 4. five cents; 5. Boris Karloff; 6. "It's a Wonderful Life;" 7. Capricorn.

All or Nothing Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. On July 14th, the French celebrate what holiday?
2. Mary Todd was the wife of what US president?
3. What two colors are Canada's flag?
4. Captain William Bligh was commander of what famous 18th century British ship?
5. Who was British Prime Minister during WWII?
6. The Heisman Trophy is awarded in what sport?
7. How many are there in a baker's dozen?
8. Which '60s rock group had an album called "Revolver?"
9. What is the world's largest ocean in area?
10. A female donkey is called a jenny. What is a male called?

Answers: 1. Bastille Day; 2. Abraham Lincoln; 3. red and white; 4. HMS Bounty; 5. Winston Churchill; 6. college football; 7. thirteen; 8. The Beatles; 9. Pacific; 10. jack.

General Knowledge
1. The 21st amendment to the US Constitution in 1933 brought what to an end? ( 1 pt)
2. What rock band did Ozzy Osbourne rise to prominence with in the early 1970s? ( 1 pt)
3. Under what pen name was Samuel Clemens better known? ( 1 pt)
4. What film did Woody Allen win the Oscar for Best Director? ( 2 pt)
5. On December 11, 1941, which two countries declared war on the United States? (2 pt)
6. In 1911, a team led by what explorer became the first humans to reach the South Pole? ( 2 pt)
7. Which influential newspaper was founded by Stilson Hutchins in 1877? ( 3 pt)

Answers: 1. Prohibition; 2. Black Sabbath; 3. Mark Twain; 4. "Annie Hall;" 5. Germany and Italy; 6. Roald Amundsen; 7. The Washington Post.

IQ Trivia
1. What nation owns the only sea entrance from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea? ( 3 points)
2. Jenny Shipley became the first female prime minister in 1997 of what country? ( 5 points)
3. In 1979, the World Health Organization declared the complete eradication of what disease had been successful? ( 4 points)
4. Opened in London's West End in 1952 and still going, what is the world's longest running play? ( 4 points)
5. Phobos and Deimos are the moons of what planet? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. Turkey; 2. New Zealand; 3. smallpox; 4. "The Mousetrap;" 5. Mars.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just Wondering

How many times the newly reacquired Yankee pitcher Javier Vazquez sees this picture in his dreams?

If Johnny Damon ends up on another AL team in 2010, Vazquez better lay off throwing him the first pitch fastballs. Especially with the bases loaded.

Thanks Adam.

The Coolest Celebrity I've Ever Met

As many of you know, I've been working as a background actor since August, and it's really been a blast. I've been on many projects associated with TV, movies and commercials here in New York City. I've haven't talked about it much here on the blog (more on my Facebook page), but in my new position, I had an encounter back in September with what I believe is the coolest celebrity I've have yet to meet: Glenn Close.

I got an assignment to be on the FX TV show, "Damages," which films its interiors at the Steiner Studios in Brooklyn. The new season hasn't debuted, but one of the first shows of the upcoming season I will be a part of. And they gave me a pretty good background role, too.

I had a scene at a conference table in the Hewes law offices, and scene involved both Ms. Close and her co-star, Tate Donovan. Before I entered the set, there was a crafts table with all kinds of snacks on it, and right smack in the middle of it, there was Glenn's Emmy award, that she had won for Best Actress just a few days earlier. There was a lovely note next to it, written by Glenn, thanking everyone in the cast and crew for making it possible for her to win her second straight Emmy. And everyone was taking pictures with it, and a friend of mine, who just happened to be on the shoot that day, took a picture of me with holding it. (I couldn't help but think of the two Red Sox World Series trophies I've had my picture taken with at that very moment.)

As soon as I walked on the set, I saw the stars sitting at the table, and one of the PAs saw me and said, "Let's put the guy with the bright red tie (me) next to Glenn." Wow. I walked over to the seat, and as soon as I made eye contact with Ms. Close, she stuck out her hand and said, "Welcome to the set." Wow. Again. She also had her dog with her, a little terrier who is the most well-behaved dog I've ever seen. (He never uttered a sound in the entire time I was there.)

We went through about an hour's worth of rehearsals, and on the break, Glenn asked everyone of us background actors (there were five of us) to talk about what we also did away from acting. When she got to me, I told her I run a Trivia Night in the Village. Her eyes lit up, and she told us how much she loves trivia, and then she stared asking me all kinds of questions about my Trivia Night: where it was, what kind of questions I write, how many people are allowed by per team. Then she pulled out a notepad and wrote down the info about Professor Thom's, and she said she'd love to come out and play one night! (I really wouldn't expect her to, as she puts in long hours on the show, but it was really sweet of her to say so.)

I simply couldn't believe the conversation I was having with her. She seemed very genuine and nice, like I was an old friend. Same goes for Tate Donovan, who asked me where I got my questions and did I do it all by myself. (He seemed impressed when I told him I do it all on my own.) I then told Glenn I was going to be a contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" in a few weeks, and she said she loves the show and was impressed by that as well. (I chatted about that with Meredith Vieira when I was on the show, and she told me that she was friends with Glenn.)

In the show, I played a "ponzi scheme victim," one of eight folks brought in to the law firm after the guy who ran the scheme was shot at by someone. We were "the most vocal people about it" (ironic that I say nothing on the show of course). We spent about 4 hours on the set shooting scene from all different angles in the room. And it was simply a joy to be a part of it. The cast and crew get along famously, and they seemed like a big family. I felt like I was welcomed into Glenn's home, and she was a wonderful host. She has absolutely no ego whatsoever, and couldn't have been any nicer to all of us peon extras!

The new season of "Damages" begins on January 25th on FX, and I would guess my episode runs some time in February. (I'll keep you all informed as to the date when I find out.)

I've met many nice celebrities in my life (most are to be honest), but Glenn Close is at the top of my list. And I thank her for being so incredibly nice to all of us on my time there at "Damages." I haven't been called back since then, but I hope I do again. I look forward to chatting with her once again about my adventures in trivia.

Monday, December 21, 2009

CHB Doesn't Let The Facts Get In The Way

Well, here's yet another reason to hate Dan Shaughnessy.

He wrote a BS column in Sports Illustrated, imploring Yankee fans to cheer Johnny Damon when he returns to Yankee Stadium with whatever team he signs with this winter.

And the Curly Haired Bastard goes out of way to rip Red Sox fans who have been booing Judas to this day.

He just doesn't get it. Fans have been letting Damon have it at Fenway since he left (but it has declined in recent years) not just because he bolted Boston, but because of the laundry he wears, and more importantly because of this statement he made in May 2005 when he was approaching free agency:

"There's no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they're going to come after me hard. It's definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It's not what I need."

That is precisely why fans were pissed off at him. He's a liar.

But he's also a businessman. Damon made his choice to trash his legacy for the Almighty Dollar. And the way he and his rat bastard of an agent, Scott (Dr. Evil) Boras, left Boston was simply appalling.

Every returning visiting player from the 2004 team (Dave Roberts, Pedro Martinez, Kevin Millar and Orlando Cabrera for example) has gotten big ovations from the Fenway Faithful for their bringing a title to Boston after 86 years. Damon would have gotten the same had he come back with, say, the Angels or Mariners. He showed up in the WRONG uniform.

But of course, CHB makes no mention of this.

I believe that the hatred towards Damon will subside once the pinstripes are gone (and it appears they are). He'll be more appreciated as time goes by for his role on the 2004 World Champions. And I bet he will get standing ovations when he goes back to Yankee Stadium with whatever team he returns with (as long as it isn't the Red Sox; no chance of that happening).

Yankee fans would let Damon have it if he returned with "BOSTON" on his uniform. And for obvious reasons. Even the ones Shaughnessy doesn't seem to realize. Or doesn't want to.

Post-Millionaire Thoughts

Well, the episode of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" I taped last October 1st aired this past Friday, and I'm glad it finally did.

I've heard back from a few folks who saw it. (I thought I'd hear from many more, but that's fine.) I've gotten back nothing but positive thoughts from everyone, and that really is appreciated. I didn't watch the show at the time it aired, as my heart wasn't in watching me fail to reach the second level.

I will watch it at some point this winter. I also have to admit I haven't watched the show itself since the day of the taping. I guess the reality of watching a dream go up in smoke was a bit too much for me to take, and watching other people win money would bring back the day too painfully. Since the first night in August 1999 I saw "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," I wanted to get on the show, and ten years later it finally happened. And it all ended badly.

Let me say that I have nothing but the highest respect for Meredith Vieira and the staff of the show. The background staff does a wonderful job preparing the contestants for the show, psyching everyone up as the taping is about to begin. (I still laugh when I think of the time they had us all do a "primal scream" just before we were introduced to the audience.)

I always wanted to know what it's like to sit in that "Hot Seat." Well, now I know. (File this under the "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it" category.) It was simply the most unnerving experience of my life. It's like every dentist chair I've ever been in multiplied by ten. All eyes are on you, and millions from around the country. A few folks said I looked as cool as a cucumber, but I was a mess inside. I had trouble concentrating fully on the questions, as I knew the clock was running. My head was running in about ten different directions.

And I don't want this to sound like sour grapes, but from the day I saw they first instituted it, I never liked the fact they put a clock on the questions. Before the taping, that question was asked of one of the coordinators, and he explained that a contestant a few years back actually took 54 minutes to answer a question! So they made the decision to time them. The clock really adds to the pressure of the show, and the ticking in the studio is VERY loud. But, being a contestant, you accept that being on the show, so I really can't complain too loudly about that.

The best part of the show for me was my banter with Meredith Vieira. She really is a sweetheart, and that was my only interaction with her on the day. I have to admit I wasn't crazy about her when she took over the show in 2002, as I was a Regis Philbin fan. But she won me over as the years went on. I loved talking about being a Red Sox fan with her, as she is originally from Rhode Island, and she's a big fan, too. And the discussion about me being a background actor was fun too, and put me at ease briefly.

And Meredith did something that I will forever respect her for. A week after the taping, I got a note from the show, and I thought it was just one of those "thanks for playing" things. But it was a personal note from her, and she "saluted" me for being "a Red Sox fan in Yankee territory." I can't begin to tell you how much better that made me feel, and I immediately sent her a thank you note for doing that.

I'm sure as time goes on I'll feel more pride for having appeared on the show. They told us backstage that over 20,000 people take the test every year, and just a few hundred are chosen. So I have to once again thank them for giving me the chance to appear. I just wish I could have made more of it.

As I said back in October, I guess I'm better suited to be a trivia host than a contestant.

And if Jenna Hager and I ever meet, we'll have something to talk about.

Ho Ho Ho This Tuesday

On Tuesday night, we'll be celebrating Christmas on Trivia Night with a Special Category of "Christmas Trivia," seven questions about my favorite holiday. (And no, there won't be any questions about "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians," which is from the picture above.)

The Q Train lightning round will be another edition of "All or Nothing Trivia." For those you not familiar with this recurring category, I'll ask you ten relatively easy questions. If you get them all correct, you get five points. If you get just one wrong, you get none for the round.

The Sneak Peek question for Tuesday night is:
Under what pen name was Samuel Clemens better known?

We will begin at the usual start time of 9 PM. Hope to see many of you then, but if I don't, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas/holiday season!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winning The North Isn't Enough

Exactly what Minnesota Vikings team was this on the field on Sunday night in Charlotte?

They looked like total crap tonight. They had wrapped up the NFC North just before they took the field, with Green Bay's last-second loss in Pittsburgh. But that of course, is far from enough. A win on Sunday would have moved them one game behind New Orleans for the number one record in the NFC. So there was plenty to play for.

Philadelphia beat San Francisco, and they are now one game behind the Vikings. If both teams end up with the same record, Philly would get the first round bye, and the Vikings would have to play in the Wild Card round (albeit at home). But getting the first week off is huge, and it would also guarantee them a home game in the second round.

The Vikings were totally flat, especially on offense. They could get nothing going against a Carolina Panthers team that's playing out the schedule, and would have to run the table just to finish 8-8.

Jake Delhomme was out for the third straight game, and backup Matt Moore was in there in his place. I figured this was a Vikings win for sure.

Carolina looked like they are the team going to the playoffs, and won 26-7.

But the Vikings gave by far their worst effort of the season. The defense gave up three plays of 40 yards or more. Brett Favre had his worst game of the year and got picked off again, Adrian Peterson had just 35 yards rushing (he's disappeared on the ground the last month) and Favre was sacked four times. Moore threw for nearly 300 yards, and Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart ran for 109 yards, the first to run for more than 100 yards against the Vikings since 2007.

Putrid. Simply putrid. The Vikings have looked awful in two of the last three weeks. Terrible efforts like this will doom them in the postseason. They've got to get their asses in high gear and regroup next week for the Bears next Monday night. Chicago is just playing out the schedule, but hell, so is Carolina.

The Vikings haven't wrapped up the first-round bye yet. And with more lousy crap like I saw tonight, that goal is definitely in jeopardy.

Lowell Trade Is Officially Off

The Mike Lowell trade to Texas for catcher Max Ramirez is officially off, as Lowell failed a physical with the Rangers, as has been determined that he needs surgery on his injured thumb.

Lowell will have the surgery after Christmas, and will need 6-8 weeks to recover, according to Extra Bases tonight.

So that means the Red Sox will have Lowell in Spring Training, and he will have to prove he's healthy once again. The Sox could keep him on third, use him as a DH/3B, or deal him in March when he proves he's healthy.

And the curious part about all of this is: was Lowell hiding the injury, or was Theo aware of it and was trying to deal damaged goods? No matter, it's off, and the $3 million the Sox was trying to save won't happen.

You have to wonder how much of a monkey wrench has been thrown into Theo Epstein's plans with this news. We'll soon find out.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Making a Good First Impression


The two newest Red Sox players, Mike Cameron and John Lackey, were both introduced at Fenway Park yesterday in separate news conferences that were attended by Terry Francona and Theo Epstein.

When the day concluded, Cameron was seen crossing Yawkey Way and headed into the Twins souvenir store. He was seen shopping for Red Sox gear, and said he wanted to buy some stuff for his kids.

Cameron is known as a good clubhouse guy and respected by all his teammates. And until yesterday, I didn't know his Single-A hitting coach and AA manager was one Terry Francona.

Mike said this yesterday (with thanks to The Joy of Sox for the quote):
I haven't really been this excited about coming somewhere since I first came to the big leagues.

I think I'm going to like this signing.

New Stars For Young Stars

On January 9th, a special event will be taking place at Jillian's Boston.

"New Stars For Young Stars" will feature the newest and upcoming Boston Red Sox stars doing an autograph session to benefit The Jimmy Fund. It will happen from 11:15 AM to 1:30 PM that day.

The featured players will include outfielder Josh Reddick, pitcher Manny Delcarmen, outfielders Jeremy Hermida and Ryan Westmoreland, Red Sox 2009 "Minor League Player of the Year" Ryan Kalish, and Red Sox "Minor League Pitcher of the Year" Casey Kelly. Former Red Sox great and 2004 World Series Champion Trot Nixon will also take part in the event.

Tickets are available at www.jimmyfund.org/new-stars and there are two types of tickets available: MVP, which is $250 and will get you an official MLB jersey and one of the first 30 spots in line. The regular admission is $150, and every ticket holder can bring a guest, but only the ticket holders can receive autographs. A buffet lunch will also be served and sports memorablila will be on sale. There will also be a silent auction, an opportunity drawing and bowling to help strike out cancer.

The New Stars For Young Stars has proven to be a popular event among Red Sox fans, and since its founding in 2006, they have raised over $100,000 in benefit of The Jimmy Fund.

Running For Kids This March

My friends at The Fresh Air Fund are doing something special this coming March 21. They will be running in the NYC Half-Marathon for the benefit of kids who need a break this upcoming summer.

If you'd like to run in the race, or would just like to support them and their worthy cause, please go here.

They're good people, doing good things. And they help kids.

It's my pleasure to help them, any way I can. Hope you can, too.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Have a Merry Freakin' Christmas

I love "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer," as it's one of my favorite Christmas specials. But today I discovered a very funny parody of it called "Raging Rudolph." Think of it as Rudolph meets the cast of "Goodfellas." This had me falling over laughing.

With thanks to my friends Pete and Billy for bringing it to my attention.

"And remember, keep your mouth shut!"

Trivia Q&A: December 15

We had 13 teams in for Trivia Night, as it appears the crowds were down with Christmas just around the corner. But those who did join us had quite a good time. (And the passing of Oral Roberts on Tuesday made for a number of interesting team names.)

I made the "Q Are You?" category a little tougher this time, as the when we did last in November, I gave out a bit too much info about the celebrities, so I limited it this time, and the scores reflected that. They weren't bad though.

I would say overall the numbers were good throughout the night. It was close all the way through, and three teams were separated by just one point heading into IQ Trivia. But the team in first, I'm Just a Lonely Old Health Care Reform Bill, got four of the five questions right to pull out a slim one point win. Congratulations to Matt and his friends on the win, their first in a number of weeks.

A reminder that we will be having Trivia Night next week, on Tuesday night, December 22nd. You can take a wild guess as to what the Special Category might be.

Current Events
1. This TV broadcaster admitted live on national TV last week that he had cancer surgery two months ago, and even kept it secret from the staff on his own show.
2. Rolling Stone magazine picked a 2006 debut hit song from this duo as "The Best Song of the Decade."
3. This actress settled a $100 million lawsuit with a bodyguard who sued her, and he claimed she beat him while drunk and coerced him to have sex with her.
4. The grandson of this former president announced last week that he will run for a southern state Senate seat that is being vacated by President Obama's choice to be Ambassador to Singapore.
5. This country issued a shipping alert last week as an iceberg larger than Manhattan island in area was drifting toward it, but authorities figure it will break apart as it comes closer.
6. Moviefone recently selected this John Travolta sci-fi bomb as "The Worst Movie of the 2000s."
7. Annise Parker, controller for this US city, won a runoff election last Saturday and became the city's first openly gay mayor.

Answers: 1. Bryant Gumbel; 2. Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy;" 3. Liza Minnelli; 4. Jimmy Carter; 5. Australia; 6. "Battlefield Earth;" 7. Houston.

Q Are You?
1. This man was born in New Brunswick, NJ in 1944. He has won an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe and two Oscars: one for producing and one for Best Actor.
2. This woman was born in McComb, MS in 1981. She first appeared on TV as a "Star Search" contestant and her debut album in 1999 sold 25 million copies worldwide.
3. This man was born in St. Louis, MO in 1979. He is the fastest man in MLB history to hit 100 and 200 home runs in a career, and just the second player to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in successive seasons.
4. This man was born in Scranton, PA in 1942. He was a US senator from 1973-2009, twice ran unsuccessfully for President, and was accused of plagarism twice, once in law school and again on the campaign for President.
5. This woman was born in The Bronx, NY in 1971. She is a nine-time Grammy Award winning R&B singer, selling 48 million records worldwide.
6. This man was born in Chicago, IL in 1951. He burst on to network TV in 1978, and has gone on to win three Golden Globes, 2 SAG Awards, 3 Grammys and an Oscar in 1997.
7. This man was born in San Mateo, CA in 1977. He's been MVP of the Super Bowl twice, a four-time Pro Bowl player, and was drafted as a catcher in the 1995 MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos.

Answers: 1. Michael Douglas; 2. Britney Spears; 3. Ryan Howard; 4. Joe Biden; 5. Mary J. Blige; 6. Robin Williams; 7. Tom Brady.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The majority of the Sierra Nevada mountain range falls within the state of Nevada.
2. The Dalai Lama is originally from the nation of Nepal.
3. Albert Einstein was born in Germany.
4. A grasshopper has eight legs.
5. "Waltzing Matilda" is the unofficial national anthem of Australia.
6. The tiger is native to the continent of Africa.
7. Canada is the leading oil supplier to the United States.
8. The spots on a potato are called eyes.
9. Lord Kelvin invented the mercury thermometer.
10. The Second City comedy troupe is based in Chicago.

Answers: 1. false, California; 2. false, Tibet; 3. true; 4. false, six; 5. true; 6. false, Asia; 7. true; 8. true; 9. false, Daniel Fahrenheit; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. What article of clothing would you put on using a "double Windsor?" ( 1 pt)
2. The core of what rock band was born when Paul Hewson met Dave Evans in 1976? ( 1 pt)
3. What modern country incorporates what was once known as Persia? (1 pt)
4. What zodiac symbol is associated with the sign of Sagittarius? (2 pt)
5. The phrase "something wicked this way comes" is from what Shakespeare play? ( 2 pt)
6. What band had a number one UK single in 1967 with "A Whiter Shade of Pale?" ( 2 pt)
7. In terms of area, what is the world's largest principally Spanish-speaking country? ( 3 pt)

Answers: 1. necktie; 2. U2; 3. Iran; 4. archer; 5. "Macbeth;" 6. Procol Harum; 7. Argentina.

IQ Trivia
1. The Tora Bora mountains lie on the border between which two countries? ( 4 points)
2. The address of Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, is what appropriate number on Hank Aaron Drive? ( 3 points)
3. The Arctic Circle runs through more of what nation than any other? ( 4 points)
4. Who has more gold and platinum albums than any other solo female singer? ( 4 points)
5. What hereditary disorder has been called "the royal disease?" ( 5 points)

Answers: 1. Afghanistan and Pakistan; 2. 755; 3. Russia; 4. Barbra Streisand; 5. hemophilia.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Get The Long Underwear Ready

The Red Sox will open the 2010 MLB season on Sunday night, April 4th against New York. Yep, ESPN, which hijacks every Sunday game against New York, grabbed this one as well.

I think it's been five years since the Red Sox and Yankees played a Sunday afternoon game.

The Red Sox will now play night games against New York on Tuesday night, April 6 and Wednesday night, April 7th, both with 7:10 PM starts. April 5th and April 8th will now be off days.

I'm cold just thinking about it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Red Sox Sign Cameron

The Red Sox concluded a busy day tonight by coming to terms with former Brewers outfielder Mike Cameron on a two-year deal. Cameron will probably play left in 2010, with Jeremy Hermida getting time in both left and right.

Cameron is a tremendous outfielder who hit 24 home runs and batted .250 for Milwaukee in 2009. This move signals the end of Jason Bay's time in Boston, and it looks like they will not pursue Matt Holliday either.

This offseason has signaled to me the Red Sox are putting a premium on upgrading their defense. But I bet Theo Epstein is not finished yet, either. Adrian Beltre is still out there to be had, and of course, there is always the looming presence of Adrian Gonzalez.

Lackey to Sox; Halladay to Philly; Lowell in Limbo

It's been a busy day in Major League Baseball, as Angels pitcher John Lackey took a physical today in Boston and it is being reported by ESPN that he and the Red Sox have agreed on a five-year deal worth about $85 million. The Red Sox haven't confirmed the deal yet.

Rumors are also ripe that a big three-team deal that would send Roy Halladay to the Phillies and Cliff Lee to the Mariners is about to be completed. The trade would also involve some minor league prospects going to Toronto, but ESPN has not named any of the players involved in that deal just yet.

And Mike Lowell is still property of the Red Sox, as he may need surgery on his right thumb, which he injured late last season. Texas may still make the deal, as they are satisfied with his right hip and are currently checking over the medical records on his thumb.

Lackey's signing with the Red Sox may signal a big trade maybe on the horizon, and many feel it will involve Clay Buchholz. Stay tuned.

Figure Out The Celebrity This Tuesday

This week, Trivia Night will have the return of "Q Are You?" It will be seven current celebrities, and I will give you a few clues as to who the famous person is. We've done this category twice before as a Special Category and it's gotten a good response from the folks, so it is in current rotation on our Trivia Night.

The Q Train lightning round will be "True or False Trivia."

The Sneak Peek question for this Tuesday night is:
What modern country incorporates what was once Persia?

We'll get going at the usual time of 9 PM. We had a number of new folks who came in last week, and that's always good to see. I hope to see many of you regulars on Tuesday night as well.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Answering the Naysayers

There was some legitimate concern about the Vikings after that miserable loss in Arizona last Sunday. E.J. Henderson suffered a season-ending fractured leg, Brett Favre threw two interceptions and had his worst game of the season, and tackle Phil Loadholt suffered a separated shoulder. There was talk about the Vikings bubble bursting, and that they were exposed by a team that is a legitimate playoff contender.

The Cincinnati Bengals were a hot team coming into the Metrodome. And they sure didn't look like one on Sunday. They made upteen mistakes, including 11 penalties. The Vikings silenced some critics for the week as they manhandled Cincinnati, 30-10.

It wasn't one of Favre's best games either, but he was good enough, as he went 17-for-30 for 192 yards, with 1 TD and an INT. The Vikings jumped out with a field goal to start the second quarter, and Favre later hit Sidney Rice with a TD from 9 yards to make it 10-0. Cincinnati answered it back with a long drive, capped by a 15-yard TD pass from Carson Palmer to Chad Johnson (I refuse to call him by that inane nickname he calls himself). The Vikings added a field goal late in the quarter, but the Bengals tried to add a score in the dying seconds, but a fumble led to Ryan Longwell adding another to make it 16-7 at the half.

The Vikings took the ball to start the half and went down the field, eating up the clock and was capped off when Adrian Peterson ran it in from 1 yard to make it 23-7. Peterson capped off another long drive in the fourth with another TD, from three yards that gave the Vikings a 30-10 win.

The defense was terrific today, although they got just one sack. They held running back Cedric Benson to just 96 yards, and the Vikings have not allowed a 100-yard game to a RB in 36 consecutive games.

There was a festive mood at Bar None in Manhattan, with the Vikings fans calling out the Saints fans who were in the back, celebrating their team's tough win in Atlanta. The Saints continue to be undefeated, and a showdown in the NFC title game would make that bar the place to be in late January.

The Vikings locked up a playoff berth, and now still have a first-round bye to shoot for, and will attempt to get that next Sunday night in Carolina. They will officially be playing deeper into January, and hopefully into February.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sounds Like Bay's Moving On

Looks like the Jason Bay Era in Boston maybe concluding, as he turned down a four-year, $60 million offer from the Red Sox, it was reported by Fox Sports on Saturday night.

I remember the Red Sox made the exact same offer to Bay in mid-November just before Bay became eligible to talk to other clubs. If it's true it sounds like the Sox won't get into a bidding war for his services, and nor should they, as Bay isn't worth more than that.

The Mets have supposedly offered him a four-year deal at $65 million, and supposedly he and his agent have had been serious talks with both Seattle and the LA Angels. Bay lives in Seattle in the offseason, and I would bet he may end up there.

You have to bet that Dr. Evil (aka Scott Boras) is happy to hear all this, as that means the Red Sox will pursue Matt Holliday full blast now.

And oh yes, this was my 2,500th post since I began this site in March 2006. Wish it could have been on something a little more happier...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mike Lowell: Nothing But Class


The rumors of a Red Sox trade with the Texas Rangers have been getting hot and heavy over the last 24 hours, and a preliminary deal has been reached between the two clubs.

It would send Mike Lowell and a lot of cash (about $9 million of his $12 million salary) to the Rangers for rookie catcher Max Ramirez. (What, yet another guy named Ramirez?) A lot of things still have to be worked out, like the cash involved in the deal, and the players' physicals.

I can't help but feel sad to see Mike head out of town. He is the dictionary definition of a professional. In November 2005, he "forced" upon the Red Sox with his $9 million contract in the Josh Beckett trade, and he was coming off a really dismal 2005 season. He was reborn in Boston, hitting 75 home runs and batting .295, and he played sterling defense as well, making just six errors in 2006 (and deserved a Gold Glove but didn't get it).

Lowell will forever be remembered for his outstanding 2007 postseason. He hit two HRs and drove in 15 runs, and was awarded the 2007 World Series MVP (pictured), and his home run was a key hit of Game 4.

It was incredibly painful watching him struggle with his hip problems in the 2008 postseason, but he recovered nicely at the plate in 2009. Unfortunately, it really cut into his range at third base. If the trade to Texas happens, Lowell figures to move over to first and DH.

This figures to be the first of what could be a few deals Theo Epstein is working on. Deals involving Adrian Gonzalez or Adrian Beltre could be next. It was apparent that Lowell didn't figure in the Red Sox' future plans, as he's on the other side of 35 and moving him opens up a world of new possibilities for the team as they go forward into the new decade.

Max Ramirez is 25 and has an above-average bat, but isn't known for his defense, and many scouts figure him to be a first base-DH (sounds like Victor Martinez). He his stuck behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden in Texas, so a trade to Boston is probably welcomed by him.

The Red Sox also acquired Boof Bonser from Minnesota today as the Winter Meetings are winding down in Texas today. He was 3-7 with an ERA close to 6.00 in 2008 with the Twins and missed all of 2009 with a shoulder injury that needed surgery.

But today I salute Mike Lowell for the four years he played for the Red Sox. He handled himself with nothing but class through all the trade rumors and his resigning after 2007. I look forward to April 20th, when the Texas Rangers come to Fenway for the first time in 2010 and Mike Lowell gets the standing ovations he richly deserves.

Thanks Mike.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What Would Rod Serling Think Of This?

After I returned from my Trivia Night last night and posted the night's results, I turned on the TV shortly after 2 AM. I was still awake and not ready for bed yet so I decided to do a little channel surfing.

I found myself going through the Cinemax movie channels, and I saw one of their soft-core porn flicks had just ended and the credits were coming up. I have to admit I love watching those credits in movies like that, just to find the obviously phony names of the crew who are hiding their real names, as they obviously don't want their family or friends to know they are doing porn for a living.

Anyway, none of the names appeared to be phonies at first glance. I love some of the ones I have seen in the past, like "Phil Focus" (who was a cameraman in one I remember), "Rufus Leaking" and another of my all-time favorites, "Hugh Jorgen."

The movie was called "Cleavagefield," which is a porn takeoff of the strange sci-fi film of a few years back, "Cloverfield." (I also love those takeoff names, like "The Sopornos" and "Saving Ryan's Privates.") But one name jumped out at me in the credits: "Jeff Myrtlebank." I remembered that was a character in a famous "Twilight Zone" episode. Could there really be a guy with that name? I thought it might be just a coincidence.

Then seconds later I saw the name "Jesse Cardiff," which was Jack Klugman's character in "A Game of Pool." Then I saw "Gart Williams" which was the name of James Daly's character in one of my favorite TZ shows, "A Stop At Willoughby." Then I thought, holy cow, these guys are disguising themselves with the names of characters from "The Twilight Zone" episodes! As I looked further, I saw such names as "Henry Beamis," "Salvadore Ross," and many others. (Not everyone had TZ names, but there had to be 15-20 I recognized. I guess it's possible those names were just thrown into the credits as a compliment to the classic show also.)

I busted out laughing, and had to think that was a great idea, and I would bet very few people who saw the film and looked at the credits would have spotted it. (I checked with IMDB, but they don't list the names of the crew at their site for the film, so you'd have to see the film's credits after the film to see them.)

Hey, it's a lot more original than "Dick Hertz."

Trivia Q&A: December 8

We had 18 teams in for Trivia on Tuesday night, on a night when I had to miss "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on ABC. (Tell me something. Why does ABC always show it on a Tuesday night to conflict with my Trivia Night? Fortunately I have it in on video, so I won't miss it.) I did notice a lot of new folks I hadn't seen in before, and a few of the regulars were not with us.

We had some terrific scores for Beatles Ringtone Trivia and Dead Rock Stars Trivia, but they dipped a bit for General Knowledge. We had a tight contest going into IQ Trivia, with the top five teams separated by just three points. But IQ Trivia was rather tough, with just one team getting as many as three of them right, and that was the winners, Tiger's Ten Mistresses (one of many team names having to do with the besieged golfer). They won by five points, and it was their first ever win. Nice job everyone.

Current Events
1. This cable TV giant, the largest in the US, announced last week that it will purchase a majority stake in NBC Universal for the staggering price of $13.75 billion.
2. Name 1 of the 2 universities, one in New York and the other in New England, that have announced that they are dropping their football programs, both due to the high cost of running their programs.
3. A bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage was defeated by this state's legislature by a 38-24 vote last Wednesday.
4. This country's government slowed Internet connections before student protests began on Monday in an effort to deny the opposition a vital communication.
5. The Episcopal Diocese of this US city elected Rev. Mary Glasspool, a lesbian, to the role of assistant bishop, the second openly gay person elected in the Episcopal hierarchy.
6. Last week Rwanda became the first nation to comply with the Ottawa Treaty, which 156 nations are a party to. What does the Ottawa Treaty specifically ban?
7. The lead singer of this rock band suffered minor injuries when the group's tour bus skidded on some ice and crashed in a ditch as they were heading through NY state on their way to a show in Boston.

Answers: 1. Comcast; 2. Hofstra and Northeastern; 3. New York; 4. Iran; 5. Los Angeles; 6. land mines; 7. Weezer.

Dead Rock Stars Trivia
1. How did Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones die in 1969? a. drug overdose; b. heart attack; c. drowned; d. killed in a car accident.
2. What city did Jim Morrison die in? a. Miami; b. London; c. Los Angeles; d. Paris.
3. What rock star, whose real name was John Simon Ritchie, died of a drug overdose in 1979? a. Bon Scott; b. Sid Vicious; c. Ian Curtis; d. Gram Parsons.
4. Which of the Beach Boys tragically drowned in an accident in 1983? a. Dennis Wilson; b. Carl Wilson; c. Mike Love; d. Brian Wilson.
5. Which of these rock icons died first? a. Janis Joplin; b. Jimi Hendrix; c. Jim Morrison; d. Keith Moon.
6. Eric Woolfson, co-founder and lead singer of which 1970s/80s British studio group, died of cancer last week? a. The Alan Parsons Project; b. Jethro Tull; c. Yes; d. King Crimson.
7. What year did Kurt Cobain of Nirvana commit suicide? a. 1991; b. 1993; c. 1994; d. 1996.

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

Another Beatles Ringtone Trivia ("The Q Train")
Answers:1. The Long and Winding Road; 2. Nowhere Man; 3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds; 4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da; 5. Paperback Writer; 6. Penny Lane; 7. Revolution; 8. From Me To You; 9. Hey Jude; 10. Got to Get You Into My Life.

General Knowledge
1. If it is midnight in New York City, what time is it in Detroit, MI? (1 point)
2. Which college basketball team has the record for consecutive victories, with 88? ( 1 point)
3. What NYC borough was the TV show "The Honeymooners" set in? ( 1 point)
4. What was the length of term for the President of the Confederacy? (2 points)
5. What is the driest state in the US in terms of overall precipitation? ( 2 points)
6. Seinfeld's Cosmo Kramer once redecorated his living room with the set of what classic talk show? ( 2 points)
7. What name was Max Rockatansky better known as? ( 3 points)

Answers: 1. midnight; 2. UCLA; 3. Brooklyn; 4. six years; 5. Nevada ( 9 inches per year); 6. "The Merv Griffin Show;" 7. Mad Max.

IQ Trivia
1. In what field are the Antoinette Perry Awards given? ( 4 points)
2. Which foreign capital city in 2007 was given the dubious title of "Kidnapping Capital of the World?" ( 4 points)
3. Which two countries had the most deaths as a result of World War II? ( 5 points)
4. What is the more common term used for the condition known as chirospasms? ( 4 points)
5. What movie character famously carried around a copy of the children book's "Curious George" in his suitcase? ( 3 points)

Answers: 1. Theatre (Tony Awards); 2. Baghdad; 3. Soviet Union and China; 4. Writer's Cramp; 5. Forrest Gump.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Maury Allen Has Lost Touch With Reality

Maury Allen was a once-respected sportswriter here in New York. He's moved over to a web site called "The Columnists", and last week he wrote one of the worst pieces of dreck I have ever seen. (With thanks to my pal Chris for bringing it to my attention.)

It is a column that simply just fawns over Derek Jeter, called "Jeter At The Top". Listen, this post isn't meant to be a slam on Jeter. As I've always said, if I'm watching a Yankees-Red Sox game and it's close late, the one guy in that lineup I don't want to see with men on base is Jeter. I've always felt he was overrated, but just in the field. (Forget the Gold Gloves; they are a joke of an award.) He is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, without any question.

But Allen actually believes that Jeter maybe the best of all-time. Yes, you read I just wrote correctly. Better than Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb or even Babe Ruth. He wrote a book 30 years ago called "Baseball's 100" and now he writes this:

Now, three decades later, when I think about updating the book, I think about Derek Jeter as No. 1 in the game. Now, then and always.

"Now, then and always?" So NOBODY for the rest of eternity will be better than his boy Derek? This makes me just want to bust out laughing, as Allen comes off like some 15-year-old schoolgirl with a mad crush on the Yankee shortstop.

Jeter isn't the best overall shortstop in history (that goes to Honus Wagner or Cal Ripken), the best player on his team now (Mark Teixeira was the Yankees MVP) or even the best shortstop on his own team (the guy playing third is their best fielding shortstop). So how the hell is Jeter the best "now, then and always" Maury?

He details it with his idea that Jeter does nothing but win (so what was that he and Yankees were doing between 2000 and 2009?) and how he's never had anything to do with steroids (that we know of). He comes sounding like he wants the rights to Jeter's life story of something. Some real serious ass kissing going on in this column.

I won't break down this dreck of a column line-by-line, but some of it is really over the top, like calling Jeter "the Barack Obama of baseball." The only thing the two have in common that I can tell (and Allen points this out) is that they both have a black father and a white mother. I've seen some weird comparisons in my life, but this may just take the cake.

Allen ends the misery with this:
But for my money, Jeter is the game's number one player, now and always. (This again?--MQ) Sorry about that, Babe.

Somebody get Maury a straight jacket, please. Or Jeter's phone number so he can finish off his man crush on him.

And So Dear Friends, You'll Just Have To Carry On


29 years ago today.

We still miss you too, John.

(With thanks to my friend Sami for today's title.)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Clausen, Tate Heading For The NFL


It wasn't a big surprise that with Charlie Weis getting canned as Notre Dame head coach that two of his loyalest players have both decided to forego their senior seasons at the school. Unfortunately it's two of the Irish's best: Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate.

Both are coming off superb years and it wouldn't surprise me if both are first round picks in the NFL Draft this April. They will both be difficult to replace, no matter who the next coach will be.

And on that subject, Notre Dame officials are expected to talk with both Brian Kelly of Cincinnati and possibly Jim Harbaugh of Stanford about their vacant head coaching job this week.

Can't Stop The Music On Tuesday

We're going to be doing something we rarely do on Trivia Night on Tuesday. Both the Special Category and the Q Train lightning round will be on the same subject: music. In honor of the anniversary of Jim Morrison's birth and John Lennon's death on Tuesday, we will be having "Dead Rock Stars Trivia" as the Special Category, and "Another Beatles Ringtone Trivia" as the lightning round. "Dead Rock Stars" will also be multiple choice.

"Dead Rock Stars Trivia" will be about the deaths of famous rock stars, and we will be doing what we did a few weeks back for the Q Train: playing brief cuts from ten Beatles songs (not done by the Fab Four, but genetic versions of the songs).

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What college basketball team has the record for consecutive victories, with 88?

We'll get going at the usual time of 9 PM. Hope many of you can come out and enjoy a night of Trivia with us.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Favre Sets Records, But Cards Dominate

Well, the Vikings were brought down a peg on Sunday night in Arizona, as Kurt Warner and the Cardinals won pretty convincingly, 30-17. Arizona is now 8-4 on the year.

The Saints won in overtime today, 33-30 over Washington, so that almost assuredly will give New Orleans the home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Cardinals win ends the Vikings' four-game winning streak, and they are now 10-2. Brett Favre set the record for consecutive games started, with 283 (for non-kickers that is), and also set the record for seasons with 3,000 or more yards with 18, and the consecutive record for years of 3,000 yards or more passing as well.

But it was really a night to forget for Favre and the Vikes. They capitalized on an Arizona fumble and turned it into a score in the first quarter, with Favre throwing a TD to Visanthe Shiancoe. But he was picked off twice, and it seemed like the Vikings could do nothing else right the rest of the night. Favre threw a grabage time TD to Percy Harvin inside the last two minutes to make the score more respectable.

But Kurt Warner had a great night, throwing three TDs, and his offensive line was very impressive, as the Vikings defense line was completely shut down, with no sacks on the night. Warner suffered a concussion two weeks ago against the Rams and missed last week's game, but showed no ill effects from that.

So, the 10-2 Vikings now prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals at the Metrodome next Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Australia?

I was surprised to see on my friend Matt's site, Fenway West, that the Red Sox are supposedly currently negotiating to play some MLB games in Sydney, Australia this coming March.

The Sunday Telegraph of Australia basically are saying it is a done deal, and will be playing games against a yet-to-be named opponent at the Sydney Cricket Ground (pictured).

A curious line from the article:

The Red Sox are considered the Manchester United of American baseball and would prove a huge hit Down Under.

Manchester United of American baseball? I think Liverpool or Arsenal would be a little more accurate, but they certainly do have the same passionate following ManU has.

Baseball does have a following Down Under, and a few players have made it to the bigs from Australia. The Red Sox also have an Australian connection, as Australian national team coach Jon Deeble was once a manager and coach in the Sox' system a few years back, and Craig Shipley, former infielder, is the Red Sox' Vice President of International Scouting.

The Red Sox went to Japan in March 2008 and it was a success. The Red Sox owners are trying to get the Red Sox brand name to a more worldwide audience, and that certainly is a good thing. But the journey to Japan left the team exhausted for the better part of April. Next year's schedule has the Sox opening against New York at Fenway, but unless the Yankees agree to go the schedule would have to be altered considerably. This leads me to think that all of this might be just some Australian's pipe dream.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Soccer Gods Smile On The USA

Today's World Cup draw in South Africa turned out to be a great one for the USA, as they have been matched up with England, Algeria and Slovenia. The USA has never played Algeria or Slovenia, and they pulled one of the World Cup's biggest upsets in 1950 against England.

A second round berth looks like a definite possibility for the Americans. They will open the World Cup Finals against England in Rustenberg on June 12th. The US will play Slovenia on June 18th and Algeria on June 23rd. South Africa will open the tournament on June 11th against Mexico.

Looks like the infamous "Group of Death" is Group G: Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal.

Here is the complete draw from earlier today:

GROUP A
South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France

GROUP B
Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece

GROUP C
England, United States, Algeria, Slovenia

GROUP D
Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana

GROUP E
Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon

GROUP F
Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia

GROUP G
Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal

GROUP H
Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile

Deal Done

The Red Sox did indeed sign shortstop Marco Scutaro to a two-year deal last night, and there's a mutual team option for 2012. He'll be getting close to $10 million in the deal.

Scutaro gets a $1 million signing bonus, $5 million in both 2010 and 2011, a 2012 option with a $6 million team option, a $3 million club option, and a $1.5 million buyout. In all it makes it a $12.5 million deal.

The Blue Jays get a first round pick from the Red Sox, and since the Sox are getting one from the Braves when they signed Billy Wagner this week, the Red Sox basically traded Scutaro for Wagner (and picked up a compensation pick as well when the Braves grabbed Wagner). If the Red Sox sign Matt Holliday, the pick they lose for Scutaro then becomes a second round pick.

I didn't put any stock in those rumors about Dustin Pedroia moving to short, so now he can stay at second. Scutaro figures to be the bridge to Jose Iglesias, the 19-year-old the Red Sox are counting on to be their shortstop of the future.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Scutaro Signs With The Sox?

A Spanish-language newspaper in Venezuela is reporting tonight that the Red Sox have signed Marco Scutaro, with terms not disclosed. You take these reports with a grain of salt, as I have not found this reported anywhere else yet. The Red Sox did request Scutaro's medical records today, so there definitely is some serious interest by Theo Epstein and the deal may indeed be on the horizon. Here is a link to the article (and it's in Spanish).

Here is a rough translation of the article, courtesy of Google Translation:

The infielder Marco Scutaro signed with the Boston Red Sox after the team was requested medical examinations

CARACAS. - Clarifying the rumors. Marco Scutaro joined the roster of the Boston Red Sox, said sources close to the player.

Are unknown terms of the contract.

During the afternoon the major leaguers told a regional newspaper that the team asked for his medical record to expedite the recruitment process.

Scutaro, at age 34, comes from a great year with the Toronto Blue Jays. He batted .282, scored 100 runs, belted 12 homers and had a base percentage of .379.


Thanks to my friend Rhonda for bringing this to my attention.

The Red Sox also lost another reliever to the Braves today, as Atlanta signed Takashi Saito to a one-year deal, right after they signed Billy Wagner to a one-year deal with an option to be the team's closer.

The Second Most Famous Traffic Citation Handed Out This Week

Apparently Adrian Peterson was pulled over on a highway outside Minneapolis the other day and given a citation for speeding. He was clocked at 109 MPH, but he claims he wasn't going that fast. Here's more from ESPN.

Well, at least he wasn't the most famous athlete given a traffic citation this week.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Trivia Q&A: December 1

We had 15 teams in for Trivia Night on what seemed like a quiet night, as I would guess many were still away from the holiday weekend. But it was still a good night, and we had a very close match all night.

The scores were pretty strong for the double-points "Movie Lines Trivia." (I also did realize that one of the Lord of the Rings movies also had the line "Is it safe?" in it, so I gave two teams credit for that, as well as the Marathon Man film I had as the correct answer.)

Only three of the teams didn't get all ten right in All or Nothing Trivia, and the scores were really good for General Knowledge Trivia. (Almost everyone said "JFK" for the youngest President, but that was not "elected" but rather "become.")

We had a tie score going into IQ Trivia, and those two teams both got four out of five correct and 16 points to force a tie-breaker question. I asked both, "With London hosting the 2012 Olympics, how many years has it been since they last hosted it?" And the team of Tiger's Tails got it exactly right, 64 years, and were awarded the victory.

My congratulations to Lisa and Jon of Subway Squawkers, who were in with a few friends and wound up taking the first place prize.

UPDATE: Lisa at Subway Squawkers has a nice column on her blog today about her team's thrilling victory last night.

Current Events
1. Egypt recalled its ambassador to this African country in a dispute and after violent confrontations following a World Cup qualifying match between the two countries recently.
2. Good Morning America canceled this pop singer's performance last week after he gave a controversial, sexually-charged performance at the American Music Awards the previous Sunday night.
3. Lou Dobbs, former talk show host who recently resigned from CNN, is seriously considering running for the US Senate in 2012 from this Eastern state.
4. The UN censured this nation last Friday, and 25 nations backed a resolution that they freeze construction of a nuclear facility.
5. Two fingers and a tooth removed from this 18th century astronomer's corpse were recently discovered, and will now be put on display in a museum in Italy soon.
6. Four police officers were ambushed in a coffee shop in a suburb of this western US city on Sunday, and there currently is no motive yet known for the gunman's attack.
7. This British rock singer was awarded the 2009 Woman of Peace Award in South Africa on Sunday, and surprised the audience by wearing an "HIV Positive" shirt, promoting her crusade against AIDS.

Answers: 1. Algeria; 2. Adam Lambert; 3. New Jersey; 4. Iran; 5. Galilieo Galilei; 6. Seattle; 7. Annie Lennox.

Movie Lines Trivia
1. "You can't handle the truth!"
2. "Here's looking at you, kid."
3. "Use the Force, Luke!"
4. "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"
5. "Is it safe?"
6. "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
7. "He's not the Messiah; he's a very naughty boy!"

Answers: 1. Jack Nicholson, "A Few Good Men;" 2. Humphrey Bogart, "Casablanca;" 3. Alec Guinness, "Star Wars;" 4. Clark Gable, "Gone With the Wind;" 5. Laurence Olivier, "Marathon Man;" 6. Kevin Spacey, "The Usual Suspects;" 7. Terry Jones, "The Life of Brian."

All or Nothing Trivia
1. Who was the first man to walk on the moon?
2. What city is the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame located?
3. Kelly Clarkson was the first winner on what TV show?
4. What city's nickname is "The Motor City?"
5. What actor won back-to-back Best Actor Oscars in the 1990s?
6. What planet is closest to the Sun?
7. Washington Heights is located in what NYC borough?
8. Who was New York's governor before David Paterson?
9. What state was former President Jimmy Carter governor of?
10. What is the largest city west of the Mississippi River by population?

Answers: 1. Neil Armstrong; 2. Cleveland; 3. "American Idol;" 4. Detroit; 5. Tom Hanks; 6. Mercury; 7. Manhattan; 8. Eliot Spitzer; 9. Georgia; 10. Los Angeles.

General Knowledge
1. What recording artist released the hit single, "100 Years," in 2004? ( 1 point)
2. Laika, the world's first space traveler, was what kind of animal? ( 1 point)
3. Which character from Peanuts played the piano? ( 1 point)
4. According to the Gospel of Luke, what angel appeared to Mary and announced her impending pregnancy? ( 2 points)
5. "7 For All Mankind" is a brand of what type of clothing? ( 2 points)
6. Brazil declared their independence from what nation in 1822? ( 2 points)
7. Who was the youngest man to become President of the United States? ( 3 points)

Answers: 1. Five For Fighting; 2. dog; 3. Schroeder; 4. Gabriel; 5. jeans; 6. Portugal; 7. Theodore Roosevelt.

IQ Trivia
1. Who was the last sitting US president to run for re-election and finish third in the Electoral College vote? ( 5 points)
2. The world's largest bullfighting arena is found in what capital city? ( 4 points)
3. Name 1 of the 2 names given to a group of kangaroos. ( 3 points)
4. Executive Order 13513, signed by President Obama in October 2009, forbids federal employees from doing what? ( 4 points)
5. What current MLB manager is now third on the all-time list in total wins as a manager in a career? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. William Howard Taft (1912); 2. Mexico City; 3. mob and troop; 4. texting while driving; 5. Tony LaRussa.