Ellsbury Returns To Fenway

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Hope the US Team Sees This Video Before the Gold Medal Game

A cool recreation of Herb Brooks' legendary speech to his troops before the USA-USSR Olympic hockey game in 1980, as done by a four-year-old boy named Rizzo. Enjoy.

Go get 'em USA! Rizzo demands it!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kelly Opens The Grapefruit Season

Casey Kelly (pictured) will begin the exhibition season on the mound for the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon, as the Sox will take on Northeastern University in that traditional game at Ft. Myers. That is the first of a college twinbill that day, and the second game will have Boof Bonser starting against Boston College. (That is a 6:05 PM game, and will be on NESN.)

Terry Francona set his rotation for the following four games that week and they are:

Thursday vs. Minnesota: Josh Beckett
Friday at Minnesota: Jon Lester, to be followed by Tim Wakefield
Saturday vs. Minnesota: John Lackey
Sunday at Baltimore: Clay Buchholz ( 1 PM on NESN)

So nice to be writing about upcoming baseball, especially with a foot of snow on the ground.

Friday, February 26, 2010

17 Years Ago Today

It was 17 years ago today that the World Trade Center was struck by a terrorist bomb in the basement in one of the buildings, killing six people, and injuring hundreds.

Eight years later, the word "first" would be permanently put in front of "World Trade Center attacks" about this day.

Two years ago, I wrote this about the 15th anniversary of that horrible day.

Say a prayer for those affected by this terrible day, and may God bless those six victims of February 26, 1993, and those who were lost to us forever eight years later.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Best Show on TV. I'm Proud to Be Part of It.

My job as a background actor led me to a shoot of the TV show "Damages" yesterday. This was the third time I've done the show this season. (And it is one hell of a great show. Check it out if you haven't. Trust me on this.)

I did the second shoot a couple of weeks ago. And it was in the same studio, and the same set I did the first one at in September. In fact, I was reprising my role as a "Ponzi scheme victim" and a representative of a group of victims who was taken in one of those things. And again, I was with Glenn Close and Tate Donovan.

It was another memorable day. As soon as I sat down at the very same conference table we filmed at five months earlier, Ms. Close looked at me and smiled and said, "You're the trivia guy." I smiled back and said that I was. I chatted with her and she asked me how the trivia was going. (I didn't mention anything about Professor Thom's temporary closing.)

I can't tell you how cool it was that she remembered me. I pulled out my new business card, one I had made last December, and gave it to her. Glenn was impressed by the words "Trivia Maven" on it. (She's a big trivia fan, and she told me she'd love to come out to my Trivia Night some time.)

In between takes, the crew had to move the cameras to a different position, so we all had to go off the set. Ms. Close came up to me and asked me, "Have you ever been on Jeopardy?" I told her I hadn't, but told her of my ill-fated appearance on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." She asked me how much money I won, and I told her I blew the fifth question and went home empty handed. "Was it a question you should have known?" she asked me. I had to be honest and I said yes, but I also told her about the enormous pressure of sitting in The Hot Seat. (I didn't volunteer what the question was and she didn't ask me.)

I was on and around the set for about six hours that day, filming a scene where all the Ponzi scheme victim reps have it out with Patty Hewes. (Watch the show to see what happens.) But it was another memorable day in my career as a background actor, and Glenn Close once again keeps the title of The Coolest Celebrity I've Ever Met.

Yesterday was a completely different thing. This time it was an exterior shoot, at a bar on West 108th Street in Manhattan. Glenn Close wasn't there, but Tate Donovan and Rose Byrne were. My role was just as one of those folks walking by the bar as the characters talk inside the place. I had to report early in the morning(at 8 AM), and I only did the one scene, which concluded at about 11:30. There was a steady drizzle to deal with, but it actually went rather smoothly.

But in the morning when I was reporting to the background PAs, I said my name was John Quinn. And to my surprise, a gentleman in his early 60s was standing next to me and said, "You're John Quinn?" I said I was, and he said "I'm John Quinn, too." We both couldn't help but laugh at that. He was a nice gentleman, also a background actor who I chatted with briefly.

Yep, I acted with another John Quinn yesterday.

John Quinns are everywhere. According to the web site HowManyofMe.com, there are 1401 people named John Quinn in the United States. Even Facebook has a group called People Named John Quinn, which has nearly 100 members, of which I am a proud member.

That was some coincidence yesterday. "Damages" never ceases to be a great experience for me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Trivia Q&A: February 23

Trivia Night made a triumphant return on Tuesday night, and we had 17 teams take part. It was nice to see so many regulars who were back after that unfortunate three-week hiatus. The strains of "Welcome Back" by John Sebastian filled the air as I got Trivia Night underway.

The scores were rather low for the first two rounds, and for "All or Nothing Trivia" just six teams got all ten correct. It was a close night all around, and it was appropriate that one of the regular teams, Your Mother's a Whore, Woolery, wound up the winners. They had a terrific IQ round and came back from sixth place to pull out a one-point victory. Congratulations, guys.

I can't put into words how much it means to me to see such a nice turnout on Tuesday night, especially so many of the regulars who turned out on a rotten rainy night. You're the best.

Current Events
1. Laura Chinchilla of the National Liberation Party recently became the first female president of this Latin American country.
2. Charlie Wilson, a 12-time Democratic congressman from this state and who Tom Hanks portrayed in the film "Charlie Wilson's War," died recently at the age of 77.
3. The UK television company ITV were fined nearly $3000 after an incident occurred on the show "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!" where two celebrities caught this type of animal, killed it and ate it on TV.
4. BMW Oracle Racing of the US recently won the America's Cup, the famous yacht race, over Alinghi, from this European country, in Valencia, Spain.
5. Walter Morrison passed away at the age of 90 recently. What famous toy invention of his made him world famous?
6. Last week, this film director was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight because he was deemed to be "too fat," and was put on another flight.
7. This country stopped issuing visas to citizens of 25 Europeans nations last week after Switzerland blacklisted 188 officials of that nation.

Answers: 1. Costa Rica; 2. Texas; 3. rat; 4. Switzerland; 5. frisbee; 6. Kevin Smith; 7. Libya.

Q Are You?
1. This man was born in Richmond, VA in 1937. He is an actor, director, producer and screenwriter and has been nominated for Best Actor a number of times, but won his only Oscar as Best Director in 1981.
2. This man was born in Long Branch, NJ in 1949. He has 20 Grammy Awards in his storied music career, but has also won two Golden Globe awards, and Emmy award and an Oscar.
3. This man was born in Pensacola, FL in 1969. He holds career NFL records in rushing, TDs, was an 8-time Pro Bowler and was the NFL MVP in 1993.
4. This woman was born in Arlington, VA in 1964. As of 2009, her films have grossed more than $3 billion worldwide, she's been nominated for the Golden Globes four times as Best Actress, winning once and has been nominated for the Best Actress Oscar once.
5. This man was born in New York City in 1952. He is a widely respected sportscaster, has announced all four major American sports and the Olympic Games, and has hosted series on NBC and HBO.
6. This woman was born in Ibadan, Nigeria in 1959. She is the most successful solo female artist in British history, selling over 50 million albums worldwide and recently released her sixth studio album in the last 25 years.
7. This man was born in Spring, TX in 1980. He was won the World Series MVP, LCS MVP, has been a 20-game winner as a pitcher, a two-time All-Star and won the World Series in both leagues.

Answers: 1. Warren Beatty; 2. Bruce Springsteen; 3. Emmitt Smith; 4. Sandra Bullock; 5. Bob Costas; 6. Sade; 7. Josh Beckett.

All or Nothing Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. This city was the first capital of the United States.
2. Harry Truman was vice-president under this president.
3. Springfield is the capital of this US state.
4. How many total members of the US Senate are there?
5. What is the first book of the Old Testament?
6. The Buffalo Bills have won this many Super Bowls.
7. What country is the Taj Mahal located in?
8. What is the largest continent by population?
9. What state is known as The Sunshine State?
10. What year was the American Bicentennial celebrated in?

Answers: 1. New York City; 2. FDR; 3. Illinois; 4. 100; 5. Genesis; 6. zero; 7. India; 8. Asia; 9. Florida; 10. 1976.

General Knowledge
1. What 1869 work by Leo Tolstoy is over 1400 pages? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the US postal abbreviation for Alaska? ( 1 pt)
3. Who succeeded Walter Alston as Los Angeles Dodgers manager in 1976 and managed the club for nearly 20 years? ( 1 pt)
4. WWW.DHS.GOV is what cabinet department's official web site? ( 2 pt)
5. Andy Warhol made an 8-hour film of one facade of what NYC landmark? ( 2 pt)
6. What word, derived from a woman's name, is Yiddish for a "gossip woman?" (2 pt)
7. In which state will you find the Will Rogers Memorial, where he is buried? ( 3 pt)

Answers: 1. "War and Peace;" 2. AK; 3. Tommy Lasorda; 4. Homeland Security; 5. Empire State Building; 6. yenta; 7. Oklahoma.

IQ Trivia
1. What popular standup comic of the 1980s was killed in a car accident in 1992? ( 3 points)
2. What Latin American country's national currency is named in honor of the colorful bird, the quetzel? ( 4 points)
3. What TV show theme song was "Thank You For Being a Friend?" ( 4 points)
4. What US state's motto is "United we stand, divided we fall?" ( 4 points)
5. What victorious 19th century US president was the first man to receive one million votes in his election? ( 5 points)

Answers: 1. Sam Kinison; 2. Guatemala; 3. "The Golden Girls;" 4. Kentucky; 5. William Henry Harrison.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Baseball Songs: Sports Heroes 3"

I wanted to bring to your attention another terrific CD by a man named Joe Pickering, Jr. called "Baseball Songs: Sports Heroes 3."

This is Joe's fourth CD, and I've had the pleasure to have promoted the last two, "Baseball Songs: Sports Heroes 2" and "Sports Songs and Beyond."

The album includes 14 baseball songs, and 4 bonus tunes. The baseball songs include such subjects as the Red Sox, Mets, Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Braves, Gil Hodges, Frank Malzone, Rube Waddell and more. It was produced and arranged by Phil Coley and Danny Mack did the vocals.

As a matter of full disclosure, Joe gave me the honor of writing something for the liner notes and I was proud to do it. And it is for the song, "Red Sox Nation" which is proudly a part of my iPod:

"Joe Pickering has done it again, and once again has tapped into the essence of being a Red Sox fan. I was proud to have been an inspiration for a previous Red Sox song ("The Bravest Red Sox Fans") and now Joe has added to his growing repertoire with such songs as "The Green Monster" and "Red Sox Nation." Keep on Keeping the Faith, Joe!"

Joe's first three albums have all been accepted into the Baseball Hall of Fame's Sound Library, and his music has been used in films, TV and radio.

Joe has a web site you might like to check out, King of the Road Music. The CD is available there, as well as at CD Baby, and at Amazon.com. It is available for digital download at both sites.

I wish Joe all the best, and I might be biased, but he's done a nice job with the CD, and I am proud to support it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, everyone, it is my pleasure to say that Professor Thom's is back in business after a forced three-week hiatus today, and that means that Trivia Night will return after 23 days on Tuesday night. (Our last edition was the special Sunday night one we had on January 31.)

Nothing has changed since we went on "vacation." And tomorrow night, our Special Category will be the return of "Q Are You?" In that category, I will give you clues as to a current famous person and you have identify who I'm talking about.

The Q Train lightning round will be "All or Nothing Trivia." I will ask you 10 rather basic trivia questions, and you will need to get all 10 correct in order to win the five points. However, if you get one wrong, you get no points in total.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What 1869 work by Leo Tolstoy is over 1400 pages?

We'll get rolling at 9 PM as is our usual time. I missed all of you over this forced exile, and I hope to see many of you at the New and Improved Professor Thom's on Tuesday night!

I Still Believe In Miracles

They had no chance. Or so the world believed. Russians professionals against American college kids.

It was 30 years ago today that the US Olympic Hockey Team pulled off the biggest upset in sports history by beating the Russians, 4-3, at Lake Placid. I can still remember watching the game on TV, and it still gives me chills all these years later. It is a moment that will live forever, as no other upset in sports will ever match this (especially since the Olympics brought in all pro hockey players a decade ago).

The U.S. beat Finland two days later to win the gold medal. BTW, Terry Francona played the Kurt Russell film "Miracle", the film based on these events, to the Red Sox prior to Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS. I think we know how that worked out.

So here is a five minute clip of the greatest moment in sports history. (The Red Sox 2004 comeback is a close second.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sox By The Numbers

Allan over at The Joy of Sox listed the numbers that the new Red Sox will be wearing this year in a recent post, so here they are:

16 - Marco Scutaro
22 - Bill Hall
23 - Mike Cameron
29- Adrian Beltre
30- Boof Bonser
32- Jeremy Hermida
40- John Lackey
46- Joe Nelson
55- Brian Shouse
70- Tug Hulett

Jacoby Ellsbury is changing his number from 46 to 2, Clay Buchholz is moving from 61 to 11, and coach Dave Magadan is going from 29 to 28 (to accomodate Beltre). New first base coach Ron Johnson will be wearing 50.

Once again it's interesting that no one on the Sox will be wearing number 21. For the longest time I believed they just weren't giving the number out in the hope they could bring Roger Clemens back (and thank God that didn't happen). But I read an interview that Jonathan Papelbon gave last year and mentioned that the Red Sox had offered him number 21, but he turned it down.

I think the players that have been offered his number have turned it down more out of respect for Clemens as opposed to any other reason. (Josh Beckett wore 21 in Florida because of Clemens, and I bet he turned down the chance to wear it in Boston.) I'd still love to see some young rookie wearing that number one day. We sure won't ever see it up on the retired numbers in right field any time soon.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A New and Improved BLOHARDS.com

My pals at The BLOHARDS have updated their fine site, and looks bigger and better.

As many of you know, I do five Red Sox trivia questions at the two BLOHARDS meetings every year, and I'm proud to be a part of it. The first BLOHARDS meeting of 2010 will be May 17th. (I'll have more info about that as the time gets closer.)

If you'd like to become a member of The BLOHARDS, just follow the above link and all the information is right there.

Bring on the 2010 season!

They Don't Look Like Vikings Fans

Saw this on Deadspin today. Apparently, two guys named Cuevas are big Brett Favre fans, and have put together a song about their hero called "The Ballad of Brett Favre: I Will If You Let Me."

It's a country tune (what else?) and the first 30 seconds of this clip are silent.

No mention of the Vikings in this song. Don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Enjoy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Make a Difference In a Child's Life

Despite the cold weather outside, my friends at The Fresh Air Fund are currently looking for host families to give kids a great summer later this year.

Last year their program gave about 5,000 New York City boys and girls, ages six to 18, free summer experiences in the country and the suburbs. Volunteer host families shared their friendship and homes up to two weeks or more in 13 Northeastern states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.

If you'd like to make a difference in a child's life and host one this coming summer, please follow this link.

It's my pleasure to help my friends at The Fresh Air Fund spread the word. They do great work.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Ring Thief's Back in L.A.

Or he will be if he makes the club. Eric Gagne signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers today.

Gagne will earn $500,000 if makes the team and could double that with incentives. He hasn't pitched in the majors since he took the Brewers for $10 million of their money in 2008.

Boy, I wonder what kind of reception he'll get if he's back with Los Angeles when they play the Red Sox at Fenway in June.

But it would probably be overshadowed by the return of that lovable goofball who used to play left field...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spring Drama (?) & a Look Back at 2009

Pitchers and catchers have begun reporting to Ft. Myers and at MLB camps all over Florida and Arizona, and already we have our first act in the Red Sox soap opera: Daisuke Matsuzaka has a sore back.

Well, at least the Red Sox know about this early enough, and can take appropriate action. It doesn't sound like its anything to be worried about, and it was reported that Dice-K should be fine and will have a "normal spring training."

Before we get going on 2010, my buddy Gareth sent along this video from MLB.TV of what they consider the top 5 Red Sox wins of 2009. They were Youk's game-winning HR over the MFY, the Sunday night win over them two nights later, Big Papi's game-winning blast over the White Sox, Nick Green's ninth-inning shot to beat Atlanta, and the comeback win over the Angels in September.

BTW, where was the craziest win of 2009 on this video? Namely, the comeback win in Texas in August in the ninth?

Professor Thom's Reopens This Monday

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to announce that Professor Thom's will reopen for business this Monday, February 22nd after its unfortunate three-week layoff. And you know what that means.

Trivia Night will make its return on Tuesday night, February 23rd at 9 PM. We last did Trivia Night on January 31st and its seems like it was a year ago. In the interim, I have been busy writing lots of trivia questions, and I have the next four weeks all set and ready to go.

We hope that you will spread the word to as many Trivia folks as possible that we are finally good to go once again. I missed you guys terribly, and look forward to getting back behind the microphone at Thom's and hosting Trivia Night once again.

See you Tuesday night!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Red Sox Fans Are There When You Need Them

A couple of days ago, I received an email from my friend Jim Prime, who is an author of many fine books about the Red Sox, including, "Ted Williams: The Pursuit of Perfection." Jim told me a very inspiring story about the American and Canadian navies and their assisting the Haitian people after the disasterous earthquake of last month.

In this story, it turns out that officers from both navies were Red Sox fans, and they let the team know about how they helped. (With thanks to the Bluenose Bosox Brotherhood, who are a group of Red Sox fans in Nova Scotia.)

The Power of Sport

During the Vancouver Olympics we will no doubt be reminded ad nauseam about the power of sport to unite and inspire.

A few weeks ago, I was party to a real life example of that power. I received an email from Lieutenant Commander Jeff Hutt, a native of Lower Sackville, NS and Combat Officer aboard the HMCS Athabaskan, recently deployed to Haiti to assist with the humanitarian relief effort in that devastated country. Like countless other Maritimers, Jeff is a Boston Red Sox fan and is, in fact, a member of the Bluenose Bosox Brotherhood (BBB), a group of some 200 Nova Scotian supporters of the Boston franchise.

In the midst of the chaos and the overwhelming sadness that permeates this catastrophe, people look for bright spots. Admittedly this is a small one, but nonetheless a telling one and in some ways an important one.

The Athabaskan was assisted in their mission by the USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43), an amphibious ship with a tremendous capability in landing people ashore. Usually the men who are landed are US Marines, but this time they were Canadians there to help the people of Haiti. The USS Fort McHenry had just returned from a long deployment to the Arabian Sea and had to recall all the sailors and MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) from leave to respond to the crisis. Instead of well-earned rest and relaxation, the American officers and crew headed straight to Haiti to lend a helping hand.

In the midst of turmoil strangers always look for points of connection, something to bring them together. For Jeff Hutt and the officers of the USS Fort McHenry, that point was baseball. The scene was a forty minute ride to a beach landing off the coast of Haiti. Hutt quickly discovered that Commanding Officer Nate Moyer hailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts and was a “huge Red Sox fan.” So was Executive Officer Nathan York from the state of Maine. In the midst of rubble and the stench of death, images of green fields, cheering fans and baseball are an escape – if only a very fleeting one. “Red Sox Nation are truly everywhere,” concluded Hutt.

Lieutenant Commander Hutt was emailing me to ask a favour - not for himself, it should be duly noted, but for his new American colleagues. Since the two U.S. naval officers had gone above and beyond to assist the Canadian mission, he asked if I could use my Red Sox contacts to help recognize these men who had been so instrumental to the Canadians and, more importantly, the Haitian people.

As Lieutenant Commander Hutt put it, “This cooperation and generosity from the US Navy is significantly improving our ability to offer aid to Haiti. I was hoping (that) someone in the Red Sox organization may be willing to recognize this contribution through some means. They are class acts. I just don't want to understate our gratitude to them. The Canadian Navy and USN have a long history of excellent cooperation, but this is a much higher level than normal - they have gone to great lengths to include us in their very busy operations.”

Within 48 hours, the Red Sox organization came through in the form of the following email from Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino.

Dear Commander Moyer and Commander York,

On behalf of John Henry, Tom Werner, and our entire ownership, I’d like to send our sincere gratitude and respect to you both for your efforts in Haiti. We heard about your participation, and that of the USS Fort McHenry, from our friends at the Bluenose BoSox Brotherhood, and we’re deeply appreciative of your call to service (especially taking time away from your leave, after a long deployment in the Arabian Sea). We’re proud to have you both as loyal members of Red Sox Nation from Massachusetts and Maine. You both are great representatives of the many distinguished, caring, and dedicated citizens that make the Red Sox fanbase the most loyal and passionate in all of baseball.

Good luck in Haiti. Your generosity and commitment will make a difference in the lives of the many affected and displaced from these earthquakes. We salute you and thank you.

Sincerely,

Larry Lucchino

As luck would have it, the timing of the emails was perfect. Landing craft from the USS Fort McHenry had just completed another massive transfer of almost 200 Canadian soldiers that had been picked up in Jamaica the previous day. As if that weren’t enough, Commander Moyer and Executive Officer York were scheduled to come to The Athabaskan for dinner that very night. Lieutenant Commander Hutt couldn’t wait. “I’m sure his first question will be ‘What is the Bluenose Bosox Brotherhood?’ he predicted. “This helps to solidify this important relationship. I’m sure I am now Nate Moyer’s new best friend and I will have no shortage of beach land capability.”

The impact on the two members of Red Sox Nation was beyond expectations. “They were floored by the gesture,” recalls Hutt. Following is an email from Commander Moyer to Mr. Lucchino:

Dear Mr. Lucchino,

Good evening. I received your fine e-mail thanking both Nate and myself for our service and I truly appreciate it. As you know, we are working with our friends from the Canadian Navy and other Navies of the world to provide relief to those in need. I truly believe that we are making a difference and I also truly appreciate your support and the support of the Red Sox organization in our global cause here.

When I was a boy, it was an infrequent occurrence for me to miss a Red Sox game either on Channel 38 or in person at Fenway pretending to be a junior Bleacher Creature. Since joining the military 17 years ago, I have only been back to our beloved ballpark a handful of times, but it doesn’t stop me from following our great team from afar. The Red Sox are in my blood and will always be.

Your e-mail has provided me with continued strength and motivation and whether we wear a Naval uniform or a Red Sox uniform, we are unified right now in this mission to help the injured, sick and displaced people of Haiti.

Thank you again for such a wonderful e-mail.

Very Respectfully and Sincerely,

Nate

Commander Nate Moyer

Commanding Officer

USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD 43)

When confronted with death and misery on foreign shores, human beings cope in various ways. Some do so by getting on with the business at hand while keeping treasured pieces of home in their hearts. For these officers, one of those things was baseball. In the overall scheme of things, it is perhaps a very small thing. But it is by no means an insignificant thing.

Jim Prime

Co-founder, Bluenose Bosox Brotherhood

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trivia Night Postponed Again This Week

Well everyone, Trivia Night is once again off this week, due to the closing of Professor Thom's. The bar is scheduled to reopen after this forced hiatus on February 22nd, so we should have our next Trivia Night on Tuesday night, February 23rd.

The bar is also undergoing some renovations while it is closed, with new floors being put in.

Once again, I offer my apologies that we won't be having Trivia Night for the second straight week.

I have not been idle since Thom's shut down. We have some new categories on the horizon after we return.

I hope you are all doing well and I look forward to seeing many of you back a week from this Tuesday night.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Might As Well Face It, I'm Addicted to Music

I've always enjoyed listening to music. In fact, I would call it more a passion, like the Red Sox, The Twilight Zone and Monty Python are to me. I can't remember the last day in my life when I didn't listen some kind of music.

My tastes are quite varied. Rock 'n' Roll is of course, at the top of my list, and the Beatles are on top of the rock list for me. (I've always laughed at that moniker people referred to the Rolling Stones as "The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World" or whatever it was. They only hijacked that title after the Beatles broke up in 1970. I like and respect the Stones very much, but the Beatles are still head and shoulders above them in my book.)

I enjoy most types of music. I worked at Tower Records for more than 6 years, and the subsequent jobs I had for nearly 13 years had me around music all the time. I can't say I've ever taken any kind of a liking to rap music, to be honest. I've never owned one rap song in my life, and I leave it that. Following rock, my other favorites are jazz, classical and vocals. I also have to admit I've loved pop music, but pop of a different era. Today's pop I have no use for at all. (I own few songs made during the 21st century. Call me an old fossil if you'd like. I don't mind it at all.)

I had a Walkman for many years because I wouldn't be without music if I traveled anywhere. I kept the Walkman for years after the iPod was first introduced in 2001, and I held out until 2008. I finally got an iPod, and now I can't imagine not having one. I got immediately hooked on it, and I got an IPod nano 8 GB as my first. It was terrific, and I filled it up with nearly 1800 songs. (I use the iPod strictly for music, and don't put in any videos.) But unfortunately, there were so many more songs I wanted to put in, and I'd have to remove many songs just to fit them in.

This past January I upgraded iPods, and got a 16 GB Red nano. It's even better, with many features the other didn't have, including listening to the radio if I so desired. So far, I have over 2500 songs in my new iPod, and I still have over 2 1/2 GB left. I have music from over 700 albums in it. (I figure I can still put another 500-600 songs in it before I run out of room.) I was able to put some deeper tracks from my albums, and even discovered a few CDs I missed from my first iPod.

Recently, I was thinking about the most popular artists I have on my iPod, and looked up on it to see who my Top 25 were. The Beatles are tops with 177 songs in my iPod, or about 7% of all songs. Dave Brubeck is a distant second, with 63. The four artists tied for 24th all have 18 songs. So, here it is, and it should give you a good idea of my musical tastes:

1. The Beatles
2. Dave Brubeck
3. Steely Dan
4. Elvis Presley
5. Bill Evans
6. Sade
7. Down to the Bone
8. Dire Straits
9. Bruce Springsteen
10. Rolling Stones
11. Billy Joel
12. The Doors
13. (tie) John Lennon
(tie) Pink Floyd
15. (tie) The Who
(tie) Vince Guaraldi
17. Creedence Clearwater Revival
18. Frank Sinatra
19. The Police
20. Led Zeppelin
21. Phil Collins
22. Steve Winwood
23. AC/DC
24. (tie) Booker T & The MGs
(tie) Talking Heads
(tie) James Brown
(tie) Paul McCartney

BTW, I haven't included "A Charlie Brown Christmas" album that Vince Guaraldi did. I currently have that out of the iPod, but when Christmas rolls around, he will jump to number 9.

Yep, I'm basically a classic rock guy. And quite proud of that, thank you.

And thanks also to the inventors of the iPod. One of man's greatest inventions, in my humble opinion.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Happy and Blessed Truck Day To You All


There's a foot of melting snow on the ground. The temperatures are in the mid-30s. And my calendar says it's February 12th. You know what that means.

Lincoln's birthday? Well, yes. But it's a more important day than that. It's Truck Day, the day the tractor-trailer pulls in front of Fenway Park (above, from earlier today), loads up the gear and travels nearly 1500 miles south to Ft. Myers.

The first sure sign of spring.

And to honor this day back in 2007, the good folks from The Red Seat put together a stunning re-enactment of Truck Day in the following two minute video, with appropriate music. Enjoy.

And have a great Truck Day everyone.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Brettcha He Will Be Back


Saw on NESN.com that some Minnesota Vikings fans are hoping that Brett Favre to return to the Vikings for the 2010 season, so much so that they rented a billboard (above) in Favre's town of Hattiesburg, Mississippi pleading with number 4 to come back to the Vikings.

No word yet on whether Favre saw the billboard or whether he will indeed come back to the Vikings for another season.

If I were to guess right now, Favre will return for another season. He signed a two-year deal with the Vikings for $25 million before last season, and I can't see him possibily passing on that money, and I think he doesn't want his career to end on that interception in New Orleans.

Yep, I brettcha he won't announce any retirements in 2010. (Sorry about that.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Anything For a Buck

Did you know that Truck Day, which is happening on Friday, now has a corporate sponsor?

Yep, it is officially known as The 2010 Spring Training Truck Day presented by JetBlue Airways.

Oh brother. Anybody else find it strange that a 1500-mile trip by truck is sponsored by an airline, a much faster way of making the journey?

Thanks to my friend and fellow Red Sox blogger Jere for pointing this out.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Trivia Is Officially Off This Week

I'm sad to report to all the Trivia Night regulars that due to the temporary closing of Professor Thom's, our Tuesday Night Trivia is officially canceled for this week.

The owners of Professor Thom's are working to get the bar back open as soon as possible, but it won't happen by this Tuesday night.

I have plenty of Trivia questions written and ready to go, and I was hoping that some way we get it in this week, but it simply won't happen. I hope you all understand. Our next scheduled Trivia Night is Tuesday, February 16th. I will keep you updated on the bar's progress in getting open, and we may possibly have Trivia that night.

The 30-day waiting period the bar is under will end officially on February 22, so we will definitely have Trivia Night back on Tuesday, February 23. Please come back here for more updates on next week.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Randle Yes, Carter No

Congratulations to former Vikings defensive tackle John Randle, as he was one of seven men elected to the Pro Football of Fame today.

Randle joins Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Dick LeBeau, Rickey Jackson, Russ Grimm and Floyd Little as those who will be enshrined in Canton this coming August.

Randle had a stellar career with the Vikings, as he was a 7-time Pro Bowler and a 6-time All-Pro. He played with the Vikings from 1990-2000, and finished his career in Seattle. He also holds the all-time NFL record for sacks by a defensive tackle with 137.5.

I'll never forget him as the guy who always wore the purple eye black on his face during games, and for his chatting with the opposition and officials during games.

Welcome to Canton, #93. I'll be pulling out my John Randle jersey for tomorrow's game.

But curiously, Cris Carter was passed on for the third consecutive year. He certainly is worthy in my opinion, as he is third on the all-time list in receptions (1,101) and fourth all-time in receiving TDs (130). Hopefully next year will be Cris' time.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Invited to Ft. Myers

God knows I wish I was heading to the Sunshine State right now, as there's snow about to blitz the Northeast. Thankfully we in New York will possibly be spared the blasting Washington, Philadelphia and South Jersey are getting. (How I hate that white stuff!)

The Truck leaves Fenway a week from today, and the players begin reporting in 13 days.

That should make all of you in the East feel a bit better now, right?

The Red Sox announced on Friday that 20 players have been invited to Spring Training, and two of them are big time prospects Casey Kelly and Lars Anderson. Here is the complete list:

Pitchers: Randor Bierd, Fernando Cabrera, Kris Johnson, Casey Kelly, Adam Mills, Edwin Moreno, Joe Nelson, Brian Shouse, Jorge Sosa, Kyle Weiland

Catchers: Luis Exposito and Gustavo Molina

Infielders/Outfielders: Lars Anderson, Yamaico Navarro, Angel Sanchez, Gil Velazquez, Zach Daeges, Ryan Kalish, Che-Hsuan Lin, Darnell McDonald

Thursday, February 04, 2010

MCU Park?

Count me in the group that hates this trend.

The Brooklyn Cyclones entered into a new partnership with Muncipal Credit Union and they bought the naming rights to their stadium in Coney Island. KeySpan Park will now be known as MCU Park.

I've always hated the idea of ballparks named after some corporation that ponies up the cash for the naming rights. The first time I remember this happening was when Candlestick Park was named 3Com Park, and when a poll was taken in San Francisco about it, something like 40% of the people hated the change. The other 60% REALLY hated the name change. (The irony in that is that the stadium is back to being known as Candlestick Park again.)

Granted the Cyclones park has never been known as a "classic" named park, and was always named after a corporation.

But I did like it when Artie Moreno changed the name of his ballpark in Anaheim to Angel Stadium right after he purchased the Angels, after it was known under various names for years. And I'll never call the Metrodome "Mall of America Field" or whatever the official name is now.

I know it's big money for sports teams to give up their arena's name for some giant corporation, and sometimes it can come back to haunt those involved. Remember when the Houston Astros canceled their agreement with Enron after the scandal hit a few years back?

I'm glad there are still parks that haven't bowed to the pressure and big payday of selling out their name, like Fenway, Wrigley, or Oriole Park. Let's hope those classic "holdouts" never do.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Professor Thom's Situation

As some of you may know, Professor Thom's was closed on Monday, and will be for the foreseeable future.

The story is is that the City of New York changed the rules about the renewal of the liquor license without the owners knowing about it. It used to be that you just sent in a form and a check to renew. But shortly before the bar's owners got the new process going (it takes 30 days), the license officially expired on February 1st. They are working hard to get the bar back to its original status.

What this means for our Trivia Night right now is uncertain at this moment. Our next scheduled night is Tuesday night, February 9th at 9 PM. There is a possibility that we will have the Trivia Night next week but without any alcohol being served. I am writing next week's Trivia now with the idea that the night will happen, one way or the other.

I will let you all know about any changes as soon as I get them. Hang in there, everybody.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Clell Tickle Isn't Laughing

As many of you out there know, I have embarked on a new career as a background actor here in New York City. I have appeared in a few productions on TV, movies and commercials. So far it's been a lot of fun, and working in the background, it's really been fascinating watching them being made and having a small part in them.

And the person largely responsible for helping me break into that world is a gentleman by the name of Clell Tickle.

We have a mutual friend in Brooklyn named Ellie Crystal, and she recommended me to him. Last summer and he and I got together and Clell explained the world of background acting to me, and also took some terrific headshots of me. Clell is a really nice guy, and a Texas native now living in New York. He also recommended a fine casting agency to me, and by August they accepted me and I was good to go in this new world of show business. (Clell and I were both part of the recent "Damages" premiere as well, the only time we have both been part of the same production so far.)

Recently, I found out that Clell had launched a lawsuit against a comedy troupe called The Human Giant, and the reason he did was that they used his name unlawfully in their skits, as he had sent them his headshot and some biographical information for one of their casting calls. They didn't use Clell in it, but what they did next really appalled him.

They used a fictional character named "Clell Tickle: Indie Marketing Guru" and made him sound like a bigoted, insane racist, saying things in their bits like:"I'm gonna have Clell Tickle give you a Columbian necktie, you f**king Jew." So, to say that the real Clell was simply horrified by this is an understatement. Obviously, Clell has an unusual name and these people at The Human Giant took it and thought it would make for a funny recurring bit.

Clell was laughing so much he filed a lawsuit in Newark Federal Court for damages against Viacom for misappropriation, unfair competition and privacy violations for ruining his good name. The "brains" behind this operation is a comedian named Aziz Ansari, and there are many clips of his "Clell Tickle" character on YouTube. (But I won't dignify them by posting any of them here.) Unfortunately, if you google "Clell Tickle" that character dominates the posts that come up.

I makes me wonder. Did these guys really think that the real Clell would never find out about this? It's really unfortunate that these people have chosen to ruin the good name of a good man. I wish my friend all the best in his lawsuit.

Trivia Q&A: January 31

We had an expected small turnout for the special Sunday night edition of Trivia Night. 9 teams turned out, and I was pleased to see a few of the regulars adjusted their schedules and joined us.

The scores were generally pretty solid throughout the night, and I was pleased to see they were very good for Super Bowl True or False Trivia, as I thought that might be one some teams might struggle with.

One question during General Knowledge actually had multiple answers, and the question about the Parsees as it turns out, they actually descended from Iran, so I accepted that as an answer (three teams had it). Also, Delaware also recently passed a law legalizing casino table games, so I accepted that along with Pennsylvania in Current Events.

The scores were tight going into IQ Trivia, but just one team got more than two questions correct and that was FOL, Jed's Late, as they got four right. They jumped from sixth place to first to grab the win and by four points. It was the team's first ever win, and congratulations to them.

I want to acknowledge my friends Will and Sam, Trivia Night regulars, who are moving to London shortly and it was their final night with us. I thank them so much for their support and wish them all the best across the pond. Next time I'm in London I'll be looking them up!

Another reminder that we will be having our next Trivia Night on Tuesday night, February 9th at 9 PM.

Current Events
1. Oprah Winfrey finished first in the annual Harris poll on America's favorite TV personalities, and this conservative TV and radio talk show host finished second.
2. The father of this former Olympic athlete died last week after he got into an argument with his son and he was assaulted, and the son is now facing assault charges.
3. This European country's lawmakers are moving closer to barring Muslim women from wearing burkas in public in that nation.
4. A 21-year-old prospect, Grant Desme, the 2009 MVP of the Arizona Fall League, shocked his organization, the Oakland A's, by announcing he was leaving baseball to enter this profession.
5. This Eastern US state became the most recent state to legalize casino table games, and it will bring thousands of jobs to the state.
6. Greg Oden, an NBA player for this team, issued a public apology this week after pictures of his privates were leaked to the internet without his permission.
7. This man, through his foundation, has pledges to donate $10 billion over the next decade to research new vaccines and bring them to the world's poorest countries.

Answers: 1. Glenn Beck; 2. Nancy Kerrigan; 3. France; 4. priesthood; 5. Pennsylvania (also accepted Delaware); 6. Portland Trail Blazers; 7. Bill Gates.

Music Trivia
1. Who recorded the hit song "Sunshine Superman" in 1966?
2. What jazz figure gained fame from originally recording the song "Minnie the Moocher?"
3. What 1970s rock band broke up in 1980 and reunited 15 years later with a tour and album called "Hell Freezes Over?"
4. "August and Everything After" was the debut album from what band in 1994?
5. "Stuck in the Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel was famously used in a scene from what 1992 film?
6. Justin Timberlake was once a member of what 1990s pop group?
7. Who won the first Grammy Award for Rap in 1989?

Answers: 1. Donovan; 2. Cab Calloway; 3. The Eagles; 4. Counting Crows; 5. "Reservoir Dogs;" 6. 'N Sync; 7. The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Super Bowl True or False ("The Q Train")
1. The Green Bay Packers won the first Super Bowl.
2. O.J. Simpson never played in a Super Bowl.
3. The Dallas Cowboys have won the most Super Bowls.
4. The first Super Bowl in Los Angeles was not a sellout.
5. No team has ever won three straight Super Bowls.
6. Sun Life Stadium, where the Super Bowl is this year, has hosted the most Super Bowls.
7. Don Shula has taken the more teams to the Super Bowl than any other head coach.
8. The Super Bowl trophy is named in honor of former commissioner Pete Rozelle.
9. The state of Texas has been home to the most number of Super Bowl championships.
10. No team has ever been shutout in the Super Bowl.

Answers: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, Pittsburgh Steelers (six); 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, New Orleans Superdome (six); 7. true; 8. false, Vince Lombardi; 9. false, California (eight); 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. Who sang the theme song to the TV show "Married With Children?" ( 1 pt)
2. "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" was a children's book written by what legendary British author? ( 1 pt)
3. What sport is Abner Doubleday credited with inventing in 1839? ( 1 pt)
4. Haiti and the Dominican Republic share what Caribbean island? ( 2 pt)
5. The type of hat favored by Shriners is called what? ( 2 pt)
6. Stephenie Meyer is the author of four novels in what series of books? ( 2 pt)
7. The Parsees are a religious community located in what Asian nation? ( 3 pt)

Answers: 1. Frank Sinatra; 2. Ian Fleming; 3. baseball; 4. Hispaniola; 5. fez; 6. "Twilight;" 7. India (also accepted Iran).

IQ Trivia
1. Queen Elizabeth I suffered from anthophobia, an abnormal fear of what? ( 5 points)
2. What MLB player is the only Rookie of the Year from the 1980s currently in baseball's Hall of Fame? ( 4 points)
3. In the film "Schindler's List," Oskar Schindler helped the Jewish people escape to what country? ( 4 points)
4. Besides "The Marriage of Figaro," what other opera features the character of Figaro? ( 4 points)
5. "Toast of the Town" was the original name of what legendary variety show? ( 3 points)

Answers: 1. roses; 2. Cal Ripken; 3. Czechoslovakia; 4. "The Barber of Seville;" 5. "The Ed Sullivan Show."