Ellsbury Returns To Fenway

Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello Ball. Goodbye 2010.

This is the 635th and final post of 2010 for The Mighty Quinn Media Machine, and I want to thank all of you who come to my blog, and especially to those of you who come here on a regular basis. It is one of the joys of my life to write this blog and get some terrific feedback about it from all of you.

I wrote a little less than I did in 2009. Last year I wrote 660 posts, and I bet part of the drop off was the fact the Red Sox missed the postseason. Hopefully we top 2010's number in 2011!

I will be ringing in the New Year rather quietly, with some friends and family. It's Amateur Night out there, and with the melting snow out there, home is the safest place to be.

And besides, The Twilight Zone marathon is under way on Syfy, and The Honeymooners marathon on WPIX here in New York starts up at midnight. So my TV remote will get it's usual workout all day tomorrow.

I close with one last YouTube clip, from that immortal Jackie Gleason sitcom. I have shown it here before, but it is always worth seeing again. Never fails to leave me in stitches:



A Happy New Year to you all.

New Lefty, Same As The Old Lefty

It appears that the Red Sox will bring Hideki Okajima back for one more season, as they are close to signing him to a one-year deal.

He will join Andrew Miller, Rich Hill, Lenny DiNardo and Felix Doubront as lefties trying to earn a spot in the new and improved Red Sox bullpen for 2011.

Catholics Dominate Convicts

Notre Dame came out firing today at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, as they totally dominated Miami in winning, 33-17.

Michael Floyd was one of the stars of the game, as he caught two TD passes from Tommy Rees in the first half, including the first one on the first drive of the game. Floyd caught six passes on the day for 108 yards.

The Irish simply dominated the game in the first half, as they picked off three passes, and led 27-3 at the half.

Tommy Rees went 15-for-29 for 194 yards and 2 TDs. Cirre Wood scored another TD on a 35-yard gallop in the second quarter. Robert Hughes rushed for 83 yards, including one for 25 yards.

David Ruffer made his first three field goals of the day to extend his school record to 24 straight FG made, but missed early in the fourth quarter, his first missed FG of 2010.

Notre Dame ends the 2010 season in style and strong, with four straight wins and with a record of 8-5. Questions remain on the status of Michael Floyd, whether he will leave after this his junior year and go into the NFL draft. I hope he stays for one more year at South Bend.

The next Notre Dame football game will be on September 3rd against South Florida at South Bend. Thanks for bringing some Irish pride back this year, guys.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Year of Frauds Exposed


My friend Pete Nash at Haulsofshame.com has his year-end wrap up of all the investigations his great site did in exposing many of the frauds that continue to plague the baseball memorabilia industry.

Pete has a list of the 15 investigations that his site did, such as the fake Shoeless Joe Jackson and Mickey Mantle rookie jerseys and the stolen Babe Ruth will.

It's definitely worth the time to check out, at Haulsofshame.com.

The Best Record Of Any NFL Team On Tuesday Nights

I had devote most of my time last night to my Trivia Night, and I can usually only watch a sporting event in drips and drabs on any Tuesday night. And I honestly didn't think the Vikings would give the Philadelphia Eagles much of a fight last night in the rescheduled game in Philly.

After losing on a combined score of 61-17 the last two weeks, I feared the worst. The Vikings were a two-touchdown underdog, but sure didn't play like one.

Joe Webb made his first NFL career start with Brett Favre inactive. Webb went 17-for-29 with 195 yards and a very impressive nine-yard TD scramble that put the Vikings up 17-7 in the middle of the third quarter.

Philly opened the scoring in the first quarter on a three-yard TD pass by Michael Vick. In the second quarter with 44 seconds to play in the half, Vick fumbled and Antoine Winfield return it 45 yards for a TD to make it 7-7.

Ryan Longwell hit a 30-yard FG to open the scoring in the second half. In the fourth, Vick ran for a TD from 10 yards to make it 17-14, and seeing that I thought the bubble would burst for the Vikes.

But the defense held strong, and Adrian Peterson score the final TD from 2 yards out to make it 24-14. AP ran for 118 yards on the night after missing the game against Chicago with a thigh injury. Peterson was also the Viking selected to this year's Pro Bowl. (Last season the Vikings had ten players go, and that shows you how far they have fallen as a team.)

Granted the Eagles had already wrapped up the division when the Giants lost to Green Bay on Sunday, but this loss denies Philly any shot at a first round bye. It's been a lost season for the Vikings, but they showed some pride last night, especially having to wait around for two extra days to play the game. Leslie Frazier is now 3-2 as head coach.

The Vikes are now 1-0 in their history on Tuesday nights, an undefeated record no other NFL team can match. (This was also the first NFL game played on Tuesday since 1946.)

The Vikings, now 6-9, will put the 2010 season to a merciful rest in Detroit on Sunday.

And the word is now in on Brett Favre and the NFL's investigation into his inappropriate text and phone messages fiasco: he will be fined $50,000.

Trivia Q&A: December 28

On a night when the remnants of the big blizzard was everywhere, I thought we might only have 8 or 9 teams in for Trivia. Boy was I proven wrong! We had an amazing 22 teams in, on a rare night when their was an NFL game on at the same time as Trivia.

My buddy Chris said before the night that many people might have been suffering from "cabin fever" and wanted to get out. Boy was he ever right.

It was a boisterous crowd on Tuesday night as well. The scores were very close all night, but the team of Domination Nation! pulled out the win by two points, getting 4 of 5 correct and getting their first win.

But we had a rare event once again that happened last week. We had another three-way tie for second, between the teams of Rex Ryan's Favorite Porno Is My Left Foot, Aloha Obama! Wish We Were There, and Ephs. We broke the tie in an unusual way, as I asked the three teams to guess how many songs I currently had in my iPod, which I use on Trivia Nights. I gave them the parameters (between 5,000 and 8,000) and the team of Ephs guessed the closest and took second place. (For the record, at the time of Trivia last night I had 6,732 songs in my iPod.)

I want to thank all of you who made our last Trivia Night of 2010 such an enjoyable one. (Of course, the Vikings win in Philly made it that much more fun.) So many of you braved the elements and came out last night, and I was really happy you did.

Happy New Year to you all.

Best Team Name: Rex Ryan's Favorite Porno Is My Left Foot

Current Events
1. What rock band had to cancel a gig in London last week after a fire broke out on one of the band's tour buses next to the arena?
2. What place, closely associated with the Beatles, was named a British landmark last week?
3. Steve Landesberg, an actor and comedian best known for his role as an intellectual detective on this 1970s sitcom, died last week at the age of 74.
4. What automaker agreed to pay a record fine of $32 million over its handling of millions of car recalls, and it's also its second major fine of 2010?
5. Actor Stephen Baldwin is suing this Oscar-winning actor, claiming he and a business partner schemed to dupe him into selling shares of a company that builds machines that separate oil from water in the wake of last April's BP disaster.
6. Jorge Rafael Videla, an 85-year-old former president of this South American country, was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity during his de facto rule there in the last 1970s.
7. What southern US state had its first snowfall on Christmas Day since records were first kept there in 1887?

2010: The Year In Review
1. What pop singer dropped his Twitter account last September, leaving over 3.7 million of his followers behind?
2. Jose Bautista was the only MLB player to hit 50 home runs during the 2010 season. What American League team did he do it for?
3. What northern country had a volcanic eruption in 2010 that spewed ash that caused weeks of travel delays?
4. What was the name of the octopus from Germany who correctly predicted the outcomes of the last seven World Cup soccer matches this past summer?
5. In May, a painting called "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" by what 20th century artist sold for a record $106 million at auction?
6. Alexander Haig, who served as Secretary of State under which US president, died this past February?
7. The president of what European country was killed last April, along with 96 others, when his plane crashed in western Russia?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. "The Muppet Show" was once banned from TV in Saudi Arabia because one of its stars was a pig.
2. Guinness is considered an aphrodisiac in Ireland.
3. The three letter abbreviation for Los Angeles International Airport is LOS.
4. The Wright Brothers plane was called The Kitty Hawk.
5. The siege of Leningrad in WWII went on for over two years.
6. Pocahontas was once pictured on the $20 bill.
7. Russian TV once made a communist version of the TV show "Star Trek."
8. Thomas Jefferson served as George Washington's vice-president.
9. In Mexico, bullfights are traditionally held on Sundays.
10. There are 36 black keys on a standard piano.

General Knowledge
1. The Silver Bullet Band is the longtime backing band of what popular rock star? ( 1 pt)
2. How many tentacles does an octopus have? ( 1 pt)
3. Which of the world's oceans goes to the deepest depths? ( 1 pt)
4. The 2010 movie "I'm Still Here" followed what actor as he grew a beard and retired from his Hollywood career? ( 2 pt)
5. What reality TV series often airs a wrap-up episode at the end of each season called "After the Final Rose?" ( 2 pt)
6. Awarded by the Women's Sports Foundation, the Billies are annual prizes named for a famous athlete in what sport? ( 2 pt)
7. According to legend, what historic London landmark has superstitiously housed ravens for at least a century? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. In 1982, Charles Brooks Jr. became the first person in the US to be executed by which method? ( 3 points)
2. What British TV show celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this month and became the world's longest running soap opera? ( 4 points)
3. Gephyrophobia is the fear of doing what, something millions of people do every day? ( 5 points)
4. What TV and movie actor became the first person using Twitter to have one million followers, in 2009? ( 4 points)
5. What current West African country was once known as "The Gold Coast," before gaining independence from the UK in 1957? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Kings of Leon; 2. Abbey Road crossing; 3. "Barney Miller;" 4. Toyota; 5. Kevin Costner; 6. Argentina; 7. South Carolina.

2010: The Year In Review
1. John Mayer; 2. Toronto Blue Jays; 3. Iceland; 4. Paul; 5. Pablo Picasso; 6. Ronald Reagan; 7. Poland.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. false; 3. false, LAX; 4. false, Flyer; 5. true; 6. true; 7. true; 8. false, John Adams; 9. true; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. Bob Seger; 2. eight; 3. Pacific; 4. Joaquin Phoenix; 5. "The Bachelor;" 6. tennis; 7. Tower of London.

IQ Trivia
1. Lethal injection; 2. "Coronation Street;" 3. Crossing bridges; 4. Ashton Kutcher; 5. Ghana.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Trivia's On Tonight!

Just a quick note to Professor Thom's Trivia Night regulars that Trivia Night will be happening at Thom's starting shortly after 9 PM. The subway next to my house (ironically enough, the Q train) is not operating, but I will lug my butt over to the F train and get in at the usual time.

The MTA's Q train may not be running, but Professor Thom's Q Train will be!

So if you're thinking of coming out, please do so. I have no idea what the turnout will be like, but I'll have my Q&A and we will play. See you later tonight!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blitzed In Just 38 Seconds

Here's a cool time-elapsed video of the snowstorm we in the Northeast all just got hit with, from the backyard of Michael Black from New Jersey. (The video is courtesy of Gawker.tv.)

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Blizzards Can't Stop Trivia

We had a White Boxing Day yesterday, as New York City got hammered with snow. Don't know any exact numbers yet, but my back that's aching from all the shoveling I had to do tells me it was more than a little significant. But this little inconvenience won't stop us from doing our Trivia Night at Tuesday night at Professor Thom's. As long as the subways are running, I will be there.

Our Special Category will be "2010: The Year In Review," which will be seven questions about the year about to come to a close. And the Q Train lightning round will be "True or False Trivia."

The final Sneak Peek question for 2010 is:
Which of the world's oceans goes to the deepest depths?

We will get going at the usual time of 9 PM. My Minnesota Vikings will be playing a rescheduled game against the Philadelphia Eagles starting at just after 8 PM, so we have a rare NFL game going on during Trivia Night.

I hope many of you will brave the remnants of the snow, which should be melting quickly (if the weather forecast proves correct), and come out for our final edition of Trivia Night for 2010.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Vikings-Eagles Postponed Until Tuesday

The wacky 2010 season of Minnesota Vikings football just took another crazy turn when the NFL postponed tonight's game in Philadelphia with the Eagles due to the heavy snow hitting the Philadelphia area today.

The snow worked against the Vikings again, just not in Minnesota this time.

It's the second time the Vikings have had a game postponed, after the roof collapse of the Metrodome a couple of weeks ago. The game has been moved to Tuesday, and this won't give the Eagles or Vikings much time to prepare for their regular season finales of January 2nd.

But why Tuesday night and not Monday? The storm should be over in Philly by midday Monday, but I can only guess that the NFL doesn't want to schedule two nationally televised games at the same time on Monday. (Remember that the makeup of the Vikings-Giants game two weeks ago was only seen in the home markets of both clubs.)

And speaking of playing football outdoors in the snow, the Vikings are exploring the 2011 season at TCF Bank Stadium, according to ESPN.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire


Here is another Christmas favorite of mine that I have posted in the past, and I thought it would be a nice thing to post for Christmas Eve night: The Yule Log, just like the show of Christmas music which is broadcast every Christmas morning on WPIX, Channel 11 in New York (from 9 AM to 1 PM this Christmas Day).

Merry Christmas to all of you.

May All Of You Have a Blessed Christmas

I want to wish all of my readers out there across the world a very Merry Christmas. This is always my favorite time of year, as I have many wonderful memories of Christmases past. I'll be seeing many of my family members over the next few days and I hope all of you enjoy this wonderful holiday with your family and friends.

I hope Santa is good to all of you.

I leave you with three popular clips of the season. Two of them have brought hundreds of folks from around the world to my site.

The first is from Irish actor Frank Kelly (who played Father Jack Hackett on the classic comedy "Father Ted"), doing a humorous take off of "The 12 Days of Christmas." I put this clip on my blog a few years ago (courtesy of my dear friend Tracy from England) and I get people from all over the English-speaking world (especially from Australia and New Zealand) who find it here. Enjoy:



The second is a Canadian version of the same "12 Days of Christmas", done by the great Bob and Doug McKenzie of "SCTV" fame. This never ceases to crack me up, and is another one of the most popular posts I have ever put up here. Take it away, boys:



And here's another one of my personal favorites, and I have posted it here before during Christmas. It is from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and it is the famous clip of Linus telling Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang exactly what Christmas is all about. It should be required viewing for all:



May all of you have peace and happiness this Christmas.

And Go Red Sox.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Very Happy Festivus To You All

I want to wish all of you out there in cyberspace a very Happy Festivus. For those of you not up to speed with our holiday, I'll let our patron saint of Festivus, Frank Costanza, explain it to you all:



And for those of you in New York, WNYW-TV Channel 5 will be showing "The Strike," the episode featuring Festivus, tonight at 11:30 PM.

Hopefully this is the best Festivus ever!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Senate Finally Comes To Their Senses

The sick 9/11 first responders finally have their Christmas miracle.

The Senate passed the James Zadroga bill today, which was named in honor of an NYPD detective who died from illnesses he contracted working at Ground Zero.

The bill will now be worth $4.3 billion. The Senate Republicans had been blocking the bill coming up for a vote. They finally came to their senses, and it really didn't have to come down to all this. But it has passed, and that's what is important.

It now goes to the House for a vote, and there it is expected to pass, and President Obama will then sign it into law.

Finally, our sick heroes will get the proper attention they so desperately need. Thank God.

Trivia Q&A: December 21

We had 14 teams in for our Christmas edition of Trivia Night. The bar was definitely into the trivia and the crowd was larger than I expected it. But it was good to see so many of the regulars in just days before Christmas.

The numbers for Current Events was rather low, as I think I made it rather difficult. But they picked up for Christmas Trivia. The audio round saw the numbers slip back a bit, but the numbers were again strong for General Knowledge.

It was close going into IQ Trivia, but the team of Nachos and Cheese Fries ran the table for all 20 points, and jumped from fifth place to get into the winner's circle and won the night by five points. Congratulations to them on their first ever Trivia Night win.

We also had something happen that has never happened before. We had a three-way tie for second, and we broke the tie with this question: "Adding up the presidential numbers of John F. Kennedy and Benjamin Harrison, what number do you get?" The number was 58 (35+23), and the team of Not All Dreams Are Dead; Goodbye Don't Ask, Don't Tell hit it right on the nose to get the win and the second place prize. We also awarded third place prizes (Thom's Ale pitcher) to the teams of Jingle Balls and I Wish This Microphone Was a Candy Cane.

Best Team Name: Buttsweat and Tears

Current Events
1. Forbes.com recently said that this Eastern state will lose more than 49,000 residents than it will gain and is the top state in the US for net resident loss for 2010.
2. The Italian edition of Rolling Stone magazine selected what man, who has never made any music, as its "Rockstar of the Year" for 2010?
3. Time magazine selected what self-made billionaire as its "Person of the Year" for 2010?
4. What Emmy-award winning actor pleaded guilty to charges stemming from allegations he broke into a Connecticut bank while drunk with a loaded gun?
5. Rumors spread last Thursday that what Oscar-winning actor had died, but it turned out to be a Twitter hoax and his death was even reported on CNN?
6. What African country withdrew corruption charges against Halliburton, the world's second largest oilfield services corporation, in exchange for $250 million settlement?
7. The governor of Texas called in what British rock superstar to mediate a dispute at the Alamo between conservationists and historians due to his large collection of Alamo memorabilia?

Christmas Trivia
1. "A Christmas Carol" was written by what 19th century author?
2. In "A Charlie Brown Christmas" what Christmas song does Lucy ask Schroeder to play for her?
3. On the fourth day of Christmas, what does my true love give me, according to "The 12 Days of Christmas?"
4. What Tchaikovsky ballet is a favorite during the Christmas season?
5. Bedford Falls is the setting for what classic Christmas movie?
6. What horror film star was the narrator of the classic Christmas TV special "How the Grinch Stole Christmas?"
7. What group founded the "Toys For Tots" program in 1947 and still run it today?

In Q's iPod: Christmas Music ("The Q Train")
1. The Beach Boys--Little Saint Nick
2. Nat King Cole--O Come O Ye Faithful
3. Bing Crosby--White Christmas
4. Sammy Davis Jr.--The Christmas Song
5. John Lennon--Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
6. Gene Autry--Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
7. Vince Guaraldi--Christmas Time Is Here
8. James Taylor--Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
9. The Drifters--White Christmas
10. Dean Martin--Let It Snow

General Knowledge
1. John Fogerty was the lead singer of what 1960s rock band? ( 1 pt)
2. When the colonists dumped 350 chests of tea into Boston Harbor in 1773, what were they disguised as?
3. AL is the postal abbreviation for what US state? ( 1 pt)
4. What California city did the last Pony Express ride end in? ( 2 pt)
5. "The Great Smog of 1952" caused at least 4,000 premature deaths in what European city? ( 2 pt)
6. "Raspberry Beret" was a 1985 hit song for what pop singer? ( 2 pt)
7. What European country consumes the most wine per capita? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What famous event occurred at 2122 North Clark Street in Chicago? ( 4 points)
2. Who is the only US president to win the Pulitzer Prize? ( 3 points)
3. What film was Tom Hanks nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for a third consecutive time but wound up losing after two consecutive wins? ( 4 points)
4. Taum Sauk Mountain is the highest point in what US state? ( 5 points)
5. The title character of what 19th century classic novel doesn't show up until chapter 133? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. New York; 2. Julian Assange; 3. Mark Zuckerberg; 4. Rip Torn; 5. Morgan Freeman; 6. Nigeria; 7. Phil Collins.

Christmas Trivia
1. Charles Dickens; 2. "Jingle Bells;" 3. four calling birds; 4. "The Nutcracker:" 5. "It's a Wonderful Life;" 6. Boris Karloff; 7. US Marine Corps.

General Knowledge
1. Creedence Clearwater Revival; 2. American Indians; 3. Alabama; 4. Sacramento; 5. London; 6. Prince; 7. Italy.

IQ Trivia
1. St. Valentine's Day Massacre; 2. John F. Kennedy; 3. "Apollo 13;" 4. Missouri; 5. "Moby Dick."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's a Bad Night When Halftime Is The Highlight

The best thing about the Vikings first outdoor game in 29 years in Minnesota was at halftime. When the 50 Greatest Vikings were honored, legendary coach Bud Grant came out without a jacket on and was lifted up on the shoulders of Matt Blair and Tim Irwin as the crowd went nuts. That put a smile on my face. The rest of the evening?

Even Bud could do nothing with this hapless bunch who call themselves the home team.

Butt ugly. Drubbed by the newly-crowned NFC North champion Chicago Bears, 40-14. Brett Favre was the surprise starter and got knocked out of the game early in the second quarter after hitting his head on the turf, which was probably more like fuzzy cement. It probably will be the end of his Hall of Fame career.

It was fun to watch the Vikings go down the field on the opening drive and score a TD. It all brought back happy memories of the Purple People Eaters of the 1970s and watching those Vikings teams dominate teams in the brutal Minnesota cold.

Then reality returned. This is simply a lousy football team.

The Vikings now officially have a losing record for 2010, the first time in four years.

Bring on the baseball season.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Get In The Spirit With Christmas Trivia

This Tuesday night's Trivia will be our Christmas edition, in both the Special Category and the Q Train Lightning Round. (The three other categories will not have any Christmas questions in it.)

The Special Category will be "Christmas Trivia," seven questions that has have something to do with my favorite holiday of the year. And the Q Train lightning round will be another special edition of "In Q's iPod" and we will play ten Christmas songs and you have to tell me who the artists of the songs are (you won't be on the hook to tell me the name of the song). And don't worry. That annoying song featuring dogs barking "Jingle Bells" will NOT be a part of it. (I'm not that sadistic.)

The Sneak Peek question is:
John Fogerty was the lead singer of what 1960s rock band?

We will begin at the usual time of 9 PM. I hope many of you can make it out to our festive Yule edition of Trivia Night this week.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wheeler Joins a Rebuilt Pen

The Red Sox continued their bullpen reconstruction today as they have reportedly signed former Rays reliever Dan Wheeler.

The Red Sox signed him to a one year deal with the 33-year-old Rhode Island native, for $3 million, with an option for 2012. Although Wheeler was a Type A free agent, the Red Sox lose no draft picks, as he was declined arbitration by the Rays.

Here's more from MLB Trade Rumors.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Classy Move By Rays Fans

Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays, who have undoubtedly had a brutal offseason, did a really cool thing today. They put a full page ad in the Tampa Bay Times to thank Carl Crawford for all the great things he did for their franchise.

I can't say I have ever heard of something like this happening before. I have heard of athletes who have thanked the fans with full page ads, but I believe this is a first.

Kudos to all of you at DRaysBay for doing this really classy gesture. You would have every reason to bash him and be bitter, but it's good to see you take the high road. I'm sure Mr. Crawford will acknowledge this terrific gesture back to you at some point.

Happy Birthday Frank; Goodbye Captain

Captain Beefheart, aka Don Van Vliet, passed away today, on what would have been Frank Zappa's 70th birthday. So in honor of these two fine gentlemen and entertainers, here is the exceptionally strange song they teamed up on in 1975, "Debra Kadabra" (the name of which reminds me of a special friend of mine):



CORRECTION: My friend Cyn wrote and told me that Frank Zappa's 70th birthday is actually next Tuesday, December 21. The Mighty Quinn regrets the error, but I'll leave this post up anyway. Sorry for jumping the gun, Frank.

Webb Gets The Start

The Vikings placed Tarvaris Jackson on IR yesterday with a toe injury, and that means his season, as well as his Vikings career, has come to an end. With Brett Favre still out, it will now fall to rookie Joe Webb to get the start for the Vikings at QB this Monday night against the Bears at TCF Bank Stadium.

I was impressed with Webb (pictured) watching him play briefly in the preseason. He was selected in the 6th round by the Vikings out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He was the 199th selection in the 2010 draft. (My friend Chris pointed out to me that Tom Brady was a 199th pick in the 2001 draft as well. An omen a good things to come?) Webb reminds me a bit of the Jets' Brad Smith, a versatile player who can throw, run and play special teams. He went 2-for-8 last Monday against the Giants in relief of Jackson.

With the Vikings' season cooked, it makes sense to go with Webb and see what he can do. The Vikings signed veteran Patrick Ramsey, who has not played since 2008, as his backup.

It looks like the game is a go for Monday night at the University of Minnesota's park. The field has just about been cleared of the snow (but more is in the forecast), but there has been some controversy about the seating arrangements, as the Vikings have made it festival seating, over first come, first served. That means that over 14,000 fans will get shut out, many of whom will be season ticket holders (they have about 55,000 season ticket holders).

There is also concern about what kind of shape the field will be in after being thawed out and players on both the Vikings and Bears have expressed that. Vikings officials have assured them that it will be fine, but we really won't know until game time. And also, there will be no alcohol served at the game, as that is the policy of University of Minnesota. And the temperatures at game time should be in the single digits.

It should be quite a memorable night.

Disrespect? Be Careful With That Word

I heard today that 2010 World Series MVP Edgar Renteria (known as "Rent-a-Wreck" to us Red Sox fans during his short tenure in Boston) was offered a one year, $1 million deal by the Giants to return to the club as a backup infielder. He said this:

"That offer from the Giants was a lack of respect. A total disrespect. To play for a million dollars, I'd rather stay with my private business and share more time with my family. Thank God I'm well off financially and my money is well invested."

Here is a Exhibit A why many fans are fed up with baseball and many of its overpaid players. I know it's like playing with Monopoly money for most fans when it comes to ballplayer salaries. But when fans hear words like "disrespect" thrown around when it comes to be offered "only" a million dollars to play for one year, sympathy won't be coming to Renteria from the average fan.

I don't begrudge the players the big money. They are in a big business and deserve to get paid the lion's share of what comes in, and what the market demands. Fans go see the players play the game. But when unemployment in America is around 10% and the economy is still in the doldrums, the average working guy doesn't want hear "total disrespect" and "only a million dollars" in the same sentence (or paragraph).

Renteria caught lightning in a bottle least October, as he got hot at the right time. He was a part-time player in San Francisco last season (and would be again in 2011), and I haven't heard any other clubs making him any better offers.

The last thing I want to hear from someone like Renteria, who even admits that he is "well-off financially" is to hear him whining about money and disrespect. (And let us not forget how he stole the Red Sox money back in 2005 and provided them with a league-leading 30 errors at shortstop.) I also guess since he now has "World Series MVP" on his resume, he should get paid like one.

Do everyone a favor and retire.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Red Sox Sign Jenks

The Red Sox agreed to terms with former Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks, he of the strange goatee variety, on a two-year, $12 million deal. The Sox owe no compensation to the White Sox in terms of draft picks since he was non-tendered by Chicago.

Jenks figures to be used in a setup role, unless the Red Sox get right offer for Jonathan Papelbon.

The Red Sox also signed six other free agents to minor league contracts today: pitchers Rich Hill, Andrew Miller, Randy Williams, Clevelan Santeliz, Ryan Harvey and one time Sox hurler Lenny DiNardo, who also has a 2004 World Series ring.

The Red Sox also sent Eric Patterson to the Padres as the player to be named later in the Adrian Gonzalez deal.

And Mariano Rivera told reporters today that the possibility of him going to the Red Sox before he re-signed with the Yankees was "real."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Old Time Football. The Way It Was Meant To Be Played.

The Vikings announced yesterday that they will play their final home game next Monday night against the Bears at TCF Bank Stadium (pictured), the home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The Metrodome clearly won't be ready for any football in the near future, and this Monday night's game was also a special night to honor the 50th season of Vikings football. The team clearly doesn't want to do that in a place like Detroit or Chicago.

The Vikings have a myriad of problems to deal with in order to get the game off: five foot snowdrifts in the ballpark; 14,000 fewer seats than the Metrodome; concession stands that aren't suited for night football; alcohol is prohibited to be served there, as it is a college park; and of course, playing a game in frigid temperatures at night outdoors.

The club will foot the bill for getting TCF Bank Stadium back into playing condition, and that might be as much as $700,000.

The game coincidentally will be played on the 29th anniversary of the final game the Vikings played outdoors in Minnesota. It was the final game ever played in Metropolitan Stadium in 1981, a 10-6 loss to Kansas City before the Vikings went indoors to play at the Metrodome.

Here's more from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Old time football in Minnesota in the cold. Brings back pleasant memories from my youth of seeing the crazy guys with no shirts on in zero degree weather rooting for the Vikings. Bring it on!

Trivia Q&A: December 14

On a really cold night in New York, we still had 11 teams and a good crowd turn out at Professor Thom's for Trivia Night. I appreciate one and all who come in such weather just to answer my Q&A and win prizes.

It was close all night, and we had a rare event occur in General Knowledge. The top two teams got the same score (10) while everyone else (9 teams) got the same score (8). And it was generally all the same questions they got right and wrong. Very odd.

Speaking of odd, the scores on "Odd Numbered Trivia" were quite strong, and it was an amazingly close race going into the last round. The top eight teams were separated by only five points. But the team that led throughout the evening, Health Care Is Drowning In The Hudson, came out on top, getting three of the five IQ questions right and winning by three points.

The second place team probably had the longest Trivia Night name we have ever had: "Ladies, Look at Your Man, Now Look Back at Me, Now Back at Your Man, Now Back at Me. Sadly, He Isn't Me, But If You Buy Him Turtlenecks For Christmas, He Can Look Like Me." (I said that just once on the night. You also have to have a good sense of humor to host a Trivia Night.)

Third place went to "Dr. Funke's 100% Natural Good Time Family Band Solution", who were just a point out of second. (It was also "The Night of the Long Names.")

Best Team Name: This Bridge Sure Makes My Koch Itch!

Current Events
1. What airline was recently ordered to pay Air France 1 million euros for the 2000 crash of flight 4590, the only fatal crash in the Concorde's history?
2. What controversial director's new film "The Ghost Writer," recently won six prizes at the European Film Awards?
3. What NYC bridge was renamed in honor of former mayor Ed Koch last week?
4. What rock star was posthumously pardoned for an indecent exposure conviction by outgoing Florida governor Charlie Crist?
5. "Hey Soul Sister" a hit song by what rock band, was the number one most downloaded song on iTunes for 2010?
6. What legendary female tennis player was hospitalized in Kenya last week after her lungs filled with fluid as she was attempting to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and had to stop?
7. The largest crowd in hockey history, over 113,000 fans, saw a college outdoor game between two schools from what US state last Saturday?

Q-Tip Trivia
1. Which of the following films were directed by Martin Scorsese? a. The Night of the Hunter; b. Gangs of New York; c. The Last Temptation of Christ; d. The Age of Innocence.
2. Which of the following states currently have two Democratic senators? a. New York; b. Florida; c. California; d. Massachusetts.
3. Which of these 20th century US presidents never served in the military? a. Richard Nixon; b. Bill Clinton; c. Franklin D. Roosevelt; d. Ronald Reagan.
4. Which of these entertainers have never won an Oscar? a. Glenn Close; b. Ed Harris; c. John Travolta; d. Johnny Depp.
5. Which of these colleges and universities are found in New York state? a. Rider University; b. Drew University; c. Williams College; d. Quinnipiac University.
6. Which of these MLB teams did not win a World Series in the decade of the 2000s? a. Houston Astros; b. St. Louis Cardinals; c. Chicago White Sox; d. Philadelphia Phillies.
7. Which of these countries are larger in area than the United States? a. Australia; b. China; c. Brazil; d. Canada.

Odd Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. This is the minimum age for a person to run for a seat in the US House of Representatives.
2. This is the temperature in degrees Celsius that is the normal temp for the human body.
3. Prohibition was ended in the US with this numbered amendment to the Constitution.
4. In the US, this is the age that one can watch, rent or buy an "R" rated movie without parental consent.
5. Seven months of the year contain this total number of days.
6. A soccer match contains this number of minutes in each half.
7. The Hebrew alphabet contains this many total letters.
8. The first manned spacecraft on the Moon was this numbered Apollo flight.
9. George H.W. Bush was this number US president.
10. This is the age in Jewish law when a boy becomes a man and has a Bar Mitzvah.

General Knowledge
1. Flags of both Japan and Bangladesh feature disks of what color? ( 1 pt)
2. According to a proverb, what is the mother of invention? ( 1 pt)
3. How many US states comprise the section known as New England? ( 1 pt)
4. John Pemberton invented what soft drink in 1886? ( 2 pt)
5. What legendary movie star was on the cover of the first issue of Playboy magazine in 1953? ( 2 pt)
6. Greenpeace's headquarters are located in what European city? ( 2 pt)
7. Herschel Krustofski is the "real name" of what TV fictional character? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The Radio City Rockettes were originally formed in 1925 in what midwestern US city? ( 4 points)
2. What Rock and Roll Hall of Famers originally had a hit song in 1957 as a duo called Tom and Jerry? ( 4 points)
3. What Oscar-winning actress was the voice of Puggsley Addams in the 1970s cartoon version of "The Addams Family?" ( 5 points)
4. In 1945, Eleanor Abbott invented what popular board game for children as a diversion for them while they were recovering from polio? ( 4 points)
5. What girl's name was the most popular female baby name in the US for 67 consecutive years until "Linda" finally surpassed it in 1947? ( 3 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Continental; 2. Roman Polanski; 3. Queensborough; 4. Jim Morrison; 5. Train; 6. Martina Navratilova; 7. Michigan.

Q-Tip Trivia
1. b, c, d; 2. a, c; 3. b, c; 4. all; 5. none; 6. a; 7. d.

Odd Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 25; 2. 37; 3. 21; 4. 17; 5. 31; 6. 45; 7. 27; 8. 11; 9. 41; 10. 13.

General Knowledge
1. red; 2. necessity; 3. six; 4. Coca-Cola; 5. Marilyn Monroe; 6. Amsterdam; 7. Krusty the Clown.

IQ Trivia
1. St. Louis; 2. Simon and Garfunkel; 3. Jodie Foster; 4. Candy Land; 5. Mary.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

He Works In Mysterious Ways

As big a disaster as the 2010 regular season was for the Red Sox with a myriad of injuries, the off-season for them as been above and beyond anyone's expectations.

The Sox land two big time bats, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, and give up no current major league talent in doing so.

Cliff Lee not only doesn't go to the AL East, he goes out of the American League.

The Yankees are currently scrambling to land another starting pitcher, but it will cost them some kind of talent to do so.

This could not have been scripted better.

And it made me think of the kid at the end of this clip:

Less Years, Less Moolah

Cliff Lee stunned the baseball world on Monday night by agreeing to a five year, $100 million deal with his old NL club, the Philadelphia Phillies. It also contains a vesting option for a sixth year.

I heard tonight that the Yankees offered Lee six years, with an option for a seventh, for a whopping $138 million.

If Lee rejecting them isn't a total repudiation of the New York Yankees, I don't know what is. Sounds like he had no interest whatsoever in coming to the Bronx.

So where do the Yankees turn to next to find a quality starter? I hear Carl Pavano is still out there...

And I wonder what those fans who yelled obscenities at Cliff's wife at a game in the Bronx this past summer are thinking tonight...

UPDATE (12/14, 3:51 PM): It is now reported that Lee's deal is five years, $120 million, so it is now worth more per year than New York or Texas offered.

Monday, December 13, 2010

297. And Done.

Whether you like Brett Favre or can't stand the sight of him, history was made on Monday night when Favre was inactive for the game with the Giants, thus ending his consecutive game streak at 297 games. It was big news when Lou Gehrig's streak ended, and when Cal Ripken's streak ended, too. So this is a big deal, too. My congratulations to him.

And like Gehrig in 1939, his record streak ended in Detroit.

It's an incredible record, one that may never be broken. He began the streak 18 years ago, on September 27, 1992. And the position he plays makes it an even more incredible record that just concluded.

The Brett Favre Era is now over. I wouldn't be surprised if he never takes another snap again.

Yes, there was a football game in Detroit. It would have been nice if the Vikings had bothered to show up for it. They lost 21-3, and are now 5-8, and are officially eliminated from the 2010 playoffs.

I have been a Minnesota Vikings fan for 38 years and this was simply one of the worst efforts I have ever seen them give. Take nothing away from the Giants. They deserved to win. But Tarvaris Jackson is not a starting NFL quarterback. He's a free agent after the season, and I pray the Vikings don't have any silly ideas about bringing him back next season.

Their number one draft pick in 2011 BETTER be a quarterback.

It's just not a happy time to be a Vikings fan. 2010 can't end fast enough.

Bring on the baseball season.

Something Odd About The Q Train This Week

This Tuesday night, the Special Category for Trivia Night will be "Q-Tip Trivia," the category we do every month where I will give you seven general knowledge questions with multiple choice answers, but with this category one, two, three, four or none of the answers could be correct. You get a point for each correct choice you make, but any wrong answers will nullify the question. (Hope you got that, but I will explain the category more fully, like I do every time we do it, on Tuesday night.)

The Q Train lightning round will be "Odd Numbered Trivia," with all ten answers to the questions being a number between 1 and 50. (I honestly have no idea who the band that is featured here is. It just happened to pop up in a web search and it looked cool, so I used it. Hope they don't mind.)

The Sneak Peek question for this Tuesday is:
How many states comprise the section known as New England?

We get going at about 9 PM, so I hope many of you will come out and join us on Tuesday night. Should be tons of fun!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

All's Fair In Love and Free Agency

I love it when these idiotic New York tabloids put up screaming headlines like the one shown here.

"DIRTY SOX!"

Ha.

It appears the Red Sox made a low-ball, 7-year offer to Cliff Lee, the only reason being they wanted to make it tougher for the Yankees or anyone else to sign him. There was no real interest in bringing in Lee on the Sox part, and anyone with any brains knows that was the case.

There's nothing wrong with that. This kind of thing goes on all the time. Agents use teams to get a better offer for their clients. (Think Mark Teixeira in 2009, who had no interest in signing with the Red Sox. The Yankees were the team he wanted to play for all along and the Sox were just used for that purpose.)

And in the article itself, Brian Cashman admitted that he only scheduled a dinner to meet with Carl Crawford "only to try to drive up the speedy outfielder's price for other teams."

So what's the difference between that and what the Red Sox did with Lee? NY may not have made an offer, but when they meet with a Type A free agent, you know there is some interest.

The Yankees clearly don't like to be used by other teams. Remember when it looked like they had Greg Maddux locked up to a long term deal in 1993, but he wound up going to Atlanta instead? Maddux really had no interest in New York, just getting more money from the Braves, where he really wanted to play.

And it appears Lee is no lock to come to New York. I think the lead-pipe sinch that everyone in New York thought it was isn't so lead-pipe right now.

I can't wait for them to blame the Red Sox should Lee return to Texas or go anywhere else but New York.

The Roof Collapse on Video

Here is the roof collapse at the Metrodome, as caught on video inside the ballpark.

Wow:

Metrodome Roof Collapses; Game Moved to Detroit

The Vikings and Giants won't be playing today or tomorrow, or any time soon in the antiquated Metrodome (pictured last night), as a couple of teflon panels in the roof tore and the inflated roof gave way. Fortunately, no one was in the building at the time. Here's more from ESPN.

Today's events just seem to sum up this Vikings season in a nutshell. The roof caved in.

It will take some time to fix that problem. Stadium workers were taking snow off the roof. The Twin Cities got as much as 25 inches of snow over the last two days, and the Giants were able to get into town.

The game will be moved to another location. The University of Minnesota's outdoor stadium was considered, but it has many fewer seats than the Metrodome, but the weather forecast for tomorrow night will be temperatures below zero. The Giants also did not pack any outdoor gear for their trip, as they figured to be playing indoors. So that doesn't look like any possibility.

This also gives Brett Favre more rest, as his streak of 297 consecutive starts was in jeopardy. Funny the way the football gods work sometimes.

The NFL is now considering moving the game to a neutral indoor site, such as Detroit or Indianapolis. Detroit makes the most sense, as the Lions have a home game there today and Fox is covering it. Fox was scheduled to cover today's Vikings-Giants game, so that's makes the most logical sense. The NFL is discussing the matter should make a decision about the game later today.

This utter train wreck of a Vikings season can't end soon enough.

The Vikings also have one more game at home this year, next Monday night against the Bears. But that won't be played at the Metrodome either. This sure gives more ammo to those proposing that the Vikings need a new stadium, which voters have constantly voted down. The Vikings can leave after 2011 when the Metrodome lease is up, and this may force the Vikings out of the Twin Cities if they don't get a new building. The spectre of Los Angeles now looms larger and larger.

UPDATE (11:55 AM): The NFL announced that the game will now be played in Detroit, at Ford Field tomorrow night at 7:20 PM ET. It will be shown locally on Fox in both of the teams' local markets. More from Fox Sports.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vikings-Giants Postponed

Because of the blizzards that hit the Twin Cities over the last day, the Vikings-Giants game has been postponed and moved to Monday night.

The NFL hasn't scheduled a time yet, but I would guess it would be some time around 8:30 PM, the time of the normal Monday Night broadcast.

The Giants were stuck in Kansas City and couldn't get into Minneapolis, as 15 inches of snow shut the airport and they wouldn't be able to fly out until Sunday morning. And apparently there was a leak in the Metrodome roof as well, so that made the decision to postpone a lot easier. Here's more from NFL.com.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Was The Iron Horse's Streak Not "Authentic" Either?

As many of you know, I do my best to avoid sports radio, as it's a haven for knuckleheads, both behind the mike and on the telephones.

"The Sports Pope", Mike Francesa (who I am no fan of, as he comes across as the worst type of know-it-all imaginable on his show), opened his show on WFAN today (and I just happened to have it on) talking about Brett Favre and whether he would play against the Giants this Sunday. Favre holds the NFL record for consecutive games played, and it would be in danger this weekend with the various injuries he's gone through this season, especially after last week, when he left after getting hit making his first pass of the game.

Fatso actually questions the "authenticity" of the record should Favre only play one or two series on Sunday. I guess someone should point out to him that the most famous ironman streak of all-time, the 2,130 consecutive games streak of the immortal Lou Gehrig, had plenty of games where Gehrig wasn't in there for all nine innings.

I just recently finished Jonathan Eig's terrific biography of Gehrig, "Luckiest Man." Eig talked about how obsessed Gehrig was with the record throughout his career, and shed light on one incident I was always curious about.

I remember seeing in Gehrig's statistics that he played one game at shortstop in 1934. I was really curious how a left-handed first baseman could play that position, and why just for one game. Eig talked about that game in Detroit, when Gehrig was suffering from a bad back, possibly an attack of lumbago. (It's been speculated that this might have been the first signs of his impending fatal illness cropping up.) Gehrig clearly couldn't play a full game or play in the field, but Yankees manager Joe McCarthy came up with the idea of batting Gehrig leadoff and have him swing the bat once and then sitting down. The Yankee leadoff man was a shortstop, and Gehrig singled in that at-bat. The regular shortstop, Red Rolfe, came in to run for him, and Gehrig's day was done.

So, Sports Pope, does episodes like this make Gehrig's record less legitimate, or "authentic?" Of course not. Eig also talks about other games Gehrig played in where he was in for just a few brief innings and took the rest of the day off. Gehrig played every inning of every game only once in his career.

Granted football and baseball are completely different animals, but I don't see how Favre only playing a few series calls his record into question. Neither sport has any guidelines as to how long in any particular game you have to play in order for it to count in a consecutive game streak.

All you have to do is play in it. That's it.

It's the Christmas season. I should find better ways to waste my time than listening to nonsense from blowhards on sports radio.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Absolutely Shameful

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which was designed to aid the first responders who rushed to Ground Zero to help in the rescue and cleanup operations there, was blocked today by Senate Republicans who wouldn't allow the bill to be voted on in the Senate.

The bill passed the House, but the jackasses in the Senate think this is some kind of "handout" to New Yorkers at the expense of the rest of the country.

Don't these boneheads know that people came from all over the United States, as well as the world, to aid New York in its time of need? And that they are getting sick and dying at an unbelievable rate?

900 people have died since 2001 who worked at Ground Zero after the WTC attacks. Let me repeat that number: nine hundred. Over 100 a year. And Lord knows how many will get sick and die over the next few years. These are brave men and women who thought nothing of themselves and risked their lives down there. (They were also assured that the air was safe at Ground Zero, when it turns out that was all a lie. I wonder how Christie Whitman and those liars at the EPA at the time can live with themselves.)

This looks like a case of anti-New York bias to me on the part of these idiotic Republican lawmakers. The bill just needed two Republicans to break ranks for it to get passed, but they successfully blocked the bill coming up for a vote. The bill's backers are still optimistic that it will get through, and hopefully on the back of the tax cut extension bill.

Every Republican senator should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this travesty to happen. Phony hypocrites. They can dump countless billions into Afghanistan and Iraq, but can't help the sick and dying heroes of Ground Zero.

Appalling. Once again, politics rules over doing the right thing. I hope they can live with themselves, too. The blood of those heroes is on their hands.

Crawford to Sox: 7 Years, $142 Million

Reports now have it that Carl Crawford has made his decision on who he will spend his MLB future with. And guess what? He won't be running wild against the Red Sox anymore, as he will be swiping bases for the Red Sox, as he apparently has agreed to a seven-year, $142 million deal, according to NESN.

Wow.

I guess we can forget about Carlos Beltran now.

And so much for all those nitwits who were screaming about how acquiring Liverpool FC was going to siphon money from the Red Sox and their payroll.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Not One Of The Better Days Of My Life

I'm truly amazed that it was 30 years ago today that John Lennon's life was tragically cut short. He will be remembered around the world today for all the great music he left behind, and thankfully we will always have that. We will never know where John would have gone with his music had he lived.

I wrote this post back in 2006 on the 26th anniversary of his death. It's all about my memories of that tragic night and its aftermath.

BTW, if you get a chance to see the new PBS documentary "LennoNYC," all about John's time in New York City, check it out. It's terrific.



Thanks for all the music, John.

Trivia Q&A: December 7

We had 18 teams in for Trivia Night on Tuesday. It was a late-arriving crowd, but I'm glad so many turned out on what was a rather cold night.

We also had a rare event happen at the beginning: two teams with the same name, "Fat Kids Always Win at See-Saw." It last happened about a year ago, and when that happens, whichever team had the highest score in the first round keeps the name. (The team with the lesser score then called themselves "We Got Our Name Off the Internet and So Did You.")

The John Lennon/Beatles category for "In Q's iPod" went really well, and the scores were between 8 and 10 for all the teams. Good to see so many folks who know the Beatles and John's solo stuff. The scores were generally very good throughout the night, although they were slightly down for the Q Are You category.

It was close all night, with five teams separated by three points going into IQ Trivia. The team in third place, Bob Loblaw (not the original team), got 4 of the 5 questions correct and wound up sneaking in by just two points. It was their first ever Trivia Night win, and congratulations to them.

Second place went to I've Got to Take a Wiki Leak and third place went to Rielle Hunter: Step Mom, who were just a point out of second place.

Best Team Name: Sit On My Facebook

Current Events
1. What female pop singer became the first musical act in 40 years to have the number 1 album in the US and UK simultaneously twice in the same year?
2. The original coffin of what infamous assassin, which was changed many years ago after his body was exhumed, is currently up for bids at auction?
3. What small Eastern European nation won tennis' Davis Cup for the first time this week, defeating France?
4. FIFA picked the World Cup hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments last week, snubbing bids from both the US and England. Name 1 of the 2 countries that will host those World Cup finals.
5. 40 people will killed in a forest fire last weekend in what country, the deadliest forest fire ever there?
6. Don Meredith, best known for his gig as an announcer on "Monday Night Football" in the 1970s, died Sunday at the age of 72. What NFL team was he an all-Pro quarterback for his entire nine-year career?
7. What animated film took over first place at the box office last weekend to become the number one film in America?

Q Are You?
1. This man was born in Beaver Falls, PA in 1943. He was one of pro football's best known QBs, ranked #96 on the Sporting News' 100 Greatest Football Players. He's in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is best known for leading his team to their only Super Bowl win in their history.
2. This man was born in Ripley, Surrey, England in 1945. He's one of rock's most influential guitarists, and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times, once as a solo act and twice with his bands. He won six Grammy Awards for a 1992 acoustic album, which was also his first US number 1 album.
3. This man was born in Washington, DC in 1948. He is a respected actor who has made over 100 films. He was a stand-in for Bill Cosby on "The Cosby Show," has played roles as diverse as a likable hit man to a Jedi master.
4. This man was born in Reading, England in 1961. He's an actor, comedian, director and writer. He's won numerous awards, such as 3 Golden Globes and 2 Emmys. He has done four sold-out standup comedy tours, created two memorable British comedy series and had the number 1 downloaded podcast in the world in 2009.
5. This woman was born in New York City in 1965. She's an actress who has appeared in the soaps and movies, but her current cable series has brought her biggest fame, as she has won a number of awards recently for it, including the Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama for 2010.
6. This man was born in Worcester, MA in 1957. He's an actor, comedian, writer and director. He's best known for his observational comedy and his successful cable series based in NYC and he was also the narrator of the 2004 Official World Series Film.
7. This woman was born in El Centro, CA in 1946. She's a singer, actress, director and producer. She's won an Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy awards, three Golden Globes and a Cannes Film Festival Award and is the only female solo artist to reach the Top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100 in each of the previous four decades.

In Q's iPod ("The Q Train")
1. Starting Over
2. Across The Universe
3. Give Peace a Chance
4. Julia
5. Come Together
6. Whatever Gets You Through The Night
7. In My Life
8. Watching The Wheels
9. I Am The Walrus
10. Imagine

General Knowledge
1. "Dirty Harry" Callahan was a cop in what city's police department? ( 1 pt)
2. Pierre Trudeau was once prime minister of what country? ( 1 pt)
3. "Up your nose with a rubber hose" was a catch phrase from what 1970s sitcom? ( 1 pt)
4. Ben Bailey is the host of what popular show on the Discovery Channel? ( 2 pt)
5. What country was once called "The Jewel in the Crown" of the British Empire? ( 2 pt)
6. Which of the original US states' motto is "Virtue, Liberty and Independence?" ( 2 pt)
7. In 1901, which company patented the first disposable razor? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. "The Wreck of the Hesperus" is a famous poem by what 19th century poet? ( 4 points)
2. The Freedonia Gazette is a longtime fan magazine dedicated to what film legends? ( 3 points)
3. What is the only nonmember "permanent observer" state of the United Nations? ( 4 points)
4. What sports franchise is largely owned by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan? ( 4 points)
5. From 1513-1972, only men named Christian and Fredrick alternated as ruling monarchs of what nation? ( 5 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Susan Boyle; 2. Lee Harvey Oswald; 3. Serbia; 4. Russia and Qatar; 5. Israel; 6. Dallas Cowboys; 7. "Tangled."

Q Are You?
1. Joe Namath; 2. Eric Clapton; 3. Samuel L. Jackson; 4. Ricky Gervais; 5. Kyra Sedgwick; 6. Denis Leary; 7. Cher.

In Q's iPod ("The Q Train")
1. John Lennon; 2. Beatles; 3. John; 4. Beatles; 5. Beatles; 6. John; 7. Beatles; 8. John; 9. Beatles; 10. John.

General Knowledge
1. San Francisco; 2. Canada; 3. "Welcome Back Kotter;" 4. "Cash Cab;" 5. India; 6. Pennsylvania; 7. Gillette.

IQ Trivia
1. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; 2. Marx Brothers; 3. Vatican City; 4. Toronto Maple Leafs; 5. Denmark.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

He's Not Just The Donald, He's Also a Client

I was watching the ass-whuppin' the Patriots gave to the Jets, 45-3 on Monday night with a bunch of my Patriot fan compadres in Manhattan at my friend Rhonda's place, when the camera focused on Patriots owner Robert Kraft in his private box early in the game.

And who should be sitting right near him but Donald Trump (who sure didn't look happy, as you know he was pulling for the Jets). And a sudden gust of wind in the box made The Donald's hair(piece?) do some serious dancing.

It sent waves of laughter through Rhonda's apartment.

Enjoy this for yourself:

Monday, December 06, 2010

Happy 90th, Dave

A very happy birthday to one of my favorite jazz artists, the legendary Dave Brubeck. He's still going strong and playing concerts at the age of 90.

I've loved Dave Brubeck ever since I got a promotional copy of "Time Out" when I worked at Tower Records back in the late 1980s. It is probably my favorite jazz album of all-time, which includes his signature song, "Take Five."

But one of my favorite Dave songs is "Koto Song," and here's a version of it live, with the Quartet of Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright and Joe Morello in Germany in 1966.

Long may you keep tickling those ivories, Mr. Brubeck!

Remembering John On Tuesday

Is it really 30 years this week since John Lennon was taken from us? Yes, unfortunately it is. But we will remember John and the impact his music left in this world with a special edition of "In Q's iPod" on Tuesday night for the Q Train lightning round. We will play 10 songs, and five will be solo John songs, and five will be Beatles tracks. You'll have to tell me which is which.

The Special Category for this Tuesday will be the December edition of "Q Are You?", where I give you clues to the identity of seven celebrities and you have to tell who I'm talking about.

This week's Sneak Peek question is:
Pierre Trudeau was once prime minister of what country?

We get rolling at 9 PM, and I hope many of you can come out and have what should be a fun night of Trivia.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Guess What?

Adrian Gonzalez is now a member of the Boston Red Sox.

On this wacky, topsy-turvy day, Gonzalez and the Red Sox have apparently reached an agreement on an extension and the trade with the Padres is on again.

No terms have been announced yet. Press conference is scheduled for tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE (8:36 PM): From Extra Bases:
It appears the deal was done without an extension. Look for the Red Sox to come to an agreement, but not announce it until after Opening Day. That would allow them to save millions on the luxury tax.

It is likely that the Red Sox and Gonzalez have an understanding of what the extension would be, otherwise it would be risky to trade three prospects for one year out of the first baseman. This is basically what happened with Josh Beckett last spring. There was a deal in place that was announced after Opening Day.

It also would allow them to make sure Gonzalez recovers from the surgery he had on his right (non-throwing) shoulder. But that is not a major issue.

Just for the record, the trade is still Gonzalez for Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Rey Fuentes and a player to be named later. That would indicate to me that the Sox feel an extension is in place.

The Crawford Sweepstakes Just Got More Interesting

If this day wasn't weird enough, Jayson Werth, who looked a sure bet to call Boston his new home for 2011, signed with the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals? Where the hell did they come from in this?

Werth is signing a seven-year deal for $126 million, and from this post, it sounds like he didn't talk money with the Sox earlier this week. Strange to see a Dr. Evil (Scott Boras) client sign so quickly, and before the Winter Meetings.

I would now guess the Red Sox will put the full court press on Carl Crawford. Or will they???

An Easy One In Minny

The Vikings played the lowly the Buffalo Bills in the Metrodome today, and it looked like it would be an easy one for the troubled Vikes today.

So naturally the first update in the first quarter was: Bills 7, Vikings 0.

Oh come on, they can't lose to the Bills, could they?

No, they didn't. Brett Favre threw an interception (his NFL-leading 18th) for a Buffalo TD on the Vikings second drive, injuring his shoulder on the play and was done for the day. (You have to wonder with the events of today, was that it for his career?)

Tarvaris Jackson came off the bench and threw two TDs to Sidney Rice, and the Vikings were on cruise control. It was 31-7 at halftime. Jackson went 15-for-22 for 187 yards and one interception.

Adrian Peterson played with a gimpy ankle and still scored three TDs. He rushed 16 times for 107 yards. It was a 38-14 win for the Vikings, their first "easy" win in a long time.

The Vikings are now 2-0 in the Leslie Frazier Era, 5-7 overall, and will take on the Giants in Minnesota next Sunday.

And in other football news, Notre Dame will take on Miami in the Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve. It will mark the first time the "Catholics" will play the "Convicts" since 1990.

Just On Hold, Or Over?

Just when it looked like the Red Sox were pulling the trigger on a great blockbuster deal that would benefit the team long term, a monkey wrench gets thrown into the works.

The deadline to sign Adrian Gonzalez came and went this afternoon, and no contract extension was agreed upon.

Oh brother.

No one in the Red Sox camp is saying anything official about this. The deal could still happen at the Winter Meetings, as it could be re-worked with other prospects and the Sox could take a chance on getting an extension with Gonzalez done before he turns free agent after 2011.

From what I have been able to piece together, Gonzalez and his agent were looking for a contract similar to what Mark Teixeira got from the Yankees, and he wanted an eight-year deal. The Red Sox were rumored to be only looking to go as high as six.

Here's more from Comcast SportsNet New England.

Yeah, I'm annoyed by all this. It doesn't make the Red Sox and their brass look good at all, and there will be an enormous fan backlash should the trade ultimately die. But it doesn't sound like it is completely off. This should be an interesting Winter Meetings in Florida this week.

Sit tight and don't go on to any ledges, folks. This is still an unfolding story.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Gonzalez Is On The Way

A deal is now in place that will bring Padres slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox, according to multiple sources today.

The trade will include three top Red Sox minor league prospects: pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder Reymond Fuentes. Kelly and Fuentes are former first round draft picks. A player to be named later may also be part of the deal.

I was glad the Red Sox did not have to include Daniel Bard or Ryan Kalish in it, or minor league stud shortstop Jose Iglesias as well. I thought Theo Epstein did really well here, especially since he was dealing with Padres GM Jed Hoyer, who was Theo's right hand man for years and knew the Red Sox farm system intimately.

The deal is contingent on getting Gonzalez, who will be 29 in May, signed to an extension. He could have walked away from the Padres as a free agent after 2011. Gonzalez is currently in Boston for a physical, as he had shoulder surgery shortly after the 2010 ended.

The trade would mean that Adrian Beltre is officially gone, as Kevin Youkilis will now move over to third base on a full-time basis.

Gonzalez will also be seeing his former teammates again in June, as the Padres play the Red Sox at Fenway June 20-22.

And BTW, Gonzalez is 7-for-10 lifetime against Cliff Lee. I'm sure the Red Sox are well aware of that.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Papelbon Can't Be Happy Hearing This

The Red Sox offered Mariano Rivera a three-year deal at approximately $50 million, but Rivera ultimately decided to return to the Yankees for a far lesser two-year deal at $30 million.

It speaks volumes about Rivera that he left millions on the table and returned to the team that he became a star with. Other clubs talked with Rivera as well.

And it makes Derek Jeter and all the on-going nonsense of his squabbles with the team look even more foolish and petty.

Going after Rivera made far more sense for the Red Sox than any of these wild-eyed ideas of making a pitch for Jeter. Rivera is still at the top of his game at the age of 41. He still hasn't shown any consistent signs of age, and that is extremely rare for a pitcher of his age. But Rivera wants to be remembered as a Yankee, and more money clearly isn't more important to him. It's clearly a fair deal for him, as he would be still the highest paid closer in baseball.

Again, compare this to Jeter. No question in my mind that the MVP of those championship teams of the late 1990s was Rivera. Both are first-ballot Hall of Famers, but I bet most Yankee fans fell the same way I do.

And I wonder what Jonathan Papelbon thinks of this? It's clear to me that the Red Sox are ready to part company with him after 2011. His numbers has been steadily declining, and he has just reached the age of 30. Rivera clearly wasn't coming to Boston, but this is a clear signal the Sox are heading a new direction with their bullpen in the near future.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Tek's Back In The Fold

The Red Sox re-signed captain Jason Varitek to a one-year deal for $2 million plus incentives.

It now looks the Red Sox will indeed go with Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the number one catcher in 2011 and Varitek as his backup.

The Red Sox also non-tendered a contract to Hideki Okajima, making him a free agent, and he figures to be elsewhere in 2011.

In other news, the Hauls of Shame web site has an interesting article up about a guy who was an appraiser on The TV show "Antiques Roadshow" being an FBI suspect in the thefts of some letters from the Hall of Fame, and also some other stolen HOF letters were available at a Dallas auction for nearly six months before being removed.

Russia, Qatar The Next World Cup Hosts

I can't help but think of that old adage, "Money talks, you know what walks" right now.

FIFA announced in Switzerland (in a big spectacle with FIFA president Sepp Blatter or was that Sepp Blather, as he went on and on) today that Russia will be the host of the 2018 World Cup finals, and the small Asian country of Qatar will host the finals in 2022.

England was strongly pushing for the 2018 Cup, and the US for 2022. It seemed to come down to England and Spain/Portugal for 2018, and Russia was mainly an afterthought, as well as the other bidder for that Cup, Holland/Belgium.

There were 22 voters in the total process. According to ESPN's Bob Ley on Twitter, it came down to Russia and Spain/Portugal in the final vote (with England eliminated in the first vote), and Qatar and the US in the final vote for 2022, with Qatar winning 14-8.

For 2022, Australia, Japan and South Korea (bidding separately) were also in the mix, as this World Cup was going to place outside of Europe or South America. Bill Clinton and Morgan Freeman were pressing the flesh in Zurich over the last couple of days to get the voters to see it the US way, but it ultimately came up short.

Here's more from ESPN.

Granted, neither Russia nor Qatar has ever hosted a World Cup, so FIFA can point to that fact with pride. But these two winners both smell like the country with the most money won out.

The US can now bid again for the 2026 World Cup, but FIFA may again have the finals played in Europe then, as no continent can host the World Cup in consecutive tournaments.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Trivia Q&A: November 30

We had 13 teams in on a rainy night in Greenwich Village for Trivia. It was a pleasure to see my old friend Matt in the bar, as he's been living in Los Angeles for a number of years and was back in New York for a few weeks. (I will forever remember Matt as the only Red Sox fan in the Riviera on the night of the 19-8 wipeout in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS who said the Red Sox would come back and win the next four. We all tried to convince Matt it had no chance of happening, but he wouldn't hear of it. One of my favorite memories of the glorious 2004 postseason.)

The scores started out rather strong, but dipped a bit in the next two rounds. They picked up for General Knowledge, and we had five teams separated by three points going into IQ Trivia. One of the teams that was tied for third place, A Hospital, What Is It? A Building Where Leslie Nielsen Just Died, But That's Not Important Right Now was the only team to get 4 of the 5 IQ questions correct, and wound up winning the night by three points.

Second place went to I'd Rather Sign Your Mama at Shortstop Than Derek Jeter (my buddy Matt's team), and third went to Let It Be (one point out of second).

Best Team Name: Dead: The Closest Gary Coleman Will Ever Get to 6 Feet

Current Events
1. This rock star filed a $20 million lawsuit last week against the makers of the video game "Guitar Hero" for violating a deal not to use imagery of his band or a former bandmate in their game.
2. 29 miners are believed to have died in a second explosion in what country, its worst mine accident in nearly 100 years?
3. What legendary country singer was among three people arrested last Friday by the US Border Patrol in Texas on marijuana possession charges?
4. President Obama was injured last week while playing basketball at Ft. McNair Army base in Washington DC when he was elbowed in the mouth. How many stitches did he need to close his wound?
5. A 19-year-old Somali-born man was arrested Saturday for attempting to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in what West Coast city?
6. The European Union agreed to give what member country $89 billion in bailout loans on Sunday to help them get through their massive banking crisis?
7. A retired French electrician has come forward with 271 undocumented, never-before-seen works by what 20th century artists, worth an estimated $80 million?

November 30th Trivia
1. On this day in 1966, Barbados declared their independence from what country?
2. In 1998, Exxon merged with what other oil company in a $73 billion agreement, forming the world's largest company?
3. On this date in 1971, the acclaimed TV movie "Brian's Song" aired, about the late NFL RB Brian Piccolo and his teammate Gale Sayers. What NFL team did they play for?
4. In 1994 on this day, what rap star was shot five times during a robbery in NYC, but was murdered two years later?
5. In 2003, a block of East 2nd Street in Greenwich Village was named after what New York-born rock star?
6. What Irish-born poet and writer, best known for his play "The Importance of Being Earnest," died on this date in 1900?
7. This English-born rock star, whose real name is William Michael Broad and achieved fame first with the band Generation X, was born on this date in 1955.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Astronauts on Apollo 8 in 1968 used Silly Putty to keep their tools floating around in zero gravity.
2. Archie Bunker received one vote for the 1972 Vice Presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention.
3. Olives are considered a vegetable.
4. Rabbits cannot vomit.
5. The United States purchased Florida from England in 1819.
6. The distance from the foul line to the headpin in bowling is 60 feet.
7. Colorado is the largest Rocky Mountain state in terms of area.
8. Johnny Cash's song "A Boy Named Sue" was actually written by the poet Shel Silverstein.
9. John Adams was the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence.
10. Easter Island got its name because it was discovered on Easter Sunday.

General Knowledge
1. Appomattox Court House, where the Civil War ended, is located in what state? ( 1 pt)
2. "Double Fantasy" was a 1980 album by what rock immortal? ( 1 pt)
3. Harvey Milk Plaza is located in the Castro district of what US city? ( 1 pt)
4. "Immortal Beloved" was a 1994 biopic on the life of what classical composer? ( 2 pt)
5. What Red Sox outfielder was the last player to win the Triple Crown, in 1967? ( 2 pt)
6. What American horse breed was named for its ability to race a distance of 1,320 feet? ( 2 pt)
7. "Where America Greets The World" is the slogan used by what US airport? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The Wrigley family owns much of what resort island 22 miles off the California coast? ( 4 points)
2. What author wrote a novel about the fictional children Willie Mufferson, Sid Sawyer and Joe Harper? ( 4 points)
3. What is South America's least populous independent mainland country? ( 5 points)
4. What famous finger food was invented at the Anchor Bar in New York State in 1964? ( 3 points)
5. William Webb Ellis is usually claimed to be the inventor of what team sport in 1823? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Axl Rose; 2. New Zealand; 3. Willie Nelson; 4. twelve; 5. Portland, OR; 6. Ireland; 7. Pablo Picasso.

November 30th Trivia
1. United Kingdom; 2. Mobil; 3. Chicago Bears; 4. Tupac Shakur; 5. Joey Ramone; 6. Oscar Wilde; 7. Billy Idol.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. true; 3. false, fruit; 4. true; 5. false, Spain; 6. true; 7. false, Montana; 8. true; 9. false, John Hancock; 10. True.

General Knowledge
1. Virginia; 2. John Lennon; 3. San Francisco; 4. Ludwig Van Beethoven; 5. Carl Yastrzemski; 6. Quarter horse; 7. John F. Kennedy Airport.

IQ Trivia
1. Catalina; 2. Mark Twain ("The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"); 3. Suriname; 4. Buffalo wings; 5. rugby.