Opening Day at Tampa Bay

Sunday, December 31, 2017

As 2017 Makes Its Exit...

This is my 108th and final post on my blog for 2017. I want to thank all of you who supported me here. It was great getting back into being a Trivia host at Professor Thom's again, and I did some great gigs in my background acting career, some of which were nothing short of unforgettable. I didn't write a lot about the Red Sox on my blog in 2017, but hope to do more of that in 2018.

I don't write nearly as much as I did back in the early years of my blog, as my life changed over the years. But I thank all of you who still do check out my ramblings from time to time. And I wish you and yours all the best for the upcoming New Year.

Stay safe, stay warm, and be well!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Post-Christmas & the Cold: Trivia Doesn't Happen

Well, last night was one of those nights: the combination of the extreme cold and the day after Christmas left Professor Thom's a ghost town last night, and Trivia Night didn't happen, as just a handful of friends turned out for the night. We gave them free shots and did a round of Current Events for fun and gave a free beer to the winner. 2017 ends with a bit of a thud, but hopefully we get 2018 off to a good start with our first Trivia Night of the year next Tuesday. We will most likely have the same Trivia Night next Tuesday that we would have had last night (except with a brand new Current Events round). I'll post all the details here on Monday. Happy New Year to all of you, and thanks for making 2017 such a great year for me on my return to hosting at Professor Thom's. Be safe on Sunday night everyone, and I hope to see many of you next Tuesday!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

As We Conclude This Year...

Trivia will be happening tonight, December 26th at 8:30 PM, with "The Year 2017 In Review" as the Special Category. It will be seven questions about the current year coming to a close, mostly in pop culture. The Q Train lightning round will be "Albums of 2017". I will give you the names of ten popular albums that were released this year, in all types of music, and you tell the artist who recorded it.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What color is PacMan in the classic video game?"

I look forward to seeing many of you tonight for our final Trivia Night of 2017. And let me wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and thanks for making 2017 such a great year!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Have a Merry Christmas Everyone

I want to wish all of you out there a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a wonderful holiday season.

As I always do every Christmas, here is the WPIX Yule Log (the original one will be broadcast tonight at 6 PM on WPIX Channel 11 here in New York).

Be well, be safe, and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Trivia Q&A: December 19

We had our "Christmas Extravaganza" Trivia Night on Tuesday night, and we had nine teams take part. It was close throughout the night, and three teams neck-and-neck going into IQ Trivia. But the team of Turkey Club got 4 of 5 correct in that final round, and eked out a one-point victory, getting 43 points of the win. Congratulations to Bob and Cato on another great win.

Second place went to Lettuce Goes In The Teeth with 42 points, and Omarosa, You're Fired Again (also won for Best Team Name) finished in third place with 34 points.

Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus to you all, and we'll see you on December 26th for our next Trivia Night!

Current Events
1. What cable news host claimed that his Twitter account was hacked last week and a tweet was posted calling President Trump "a pathetic loser?"
2. What event from last September was the number one globally searched trend for 2017 on Google?
3. What TV legend will be given the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2018 Golden Globes for her lifetime achievement to television?
4. What media mogul is one of the latest men accused of sexual misconduct, this time by at least 12 women going back to 1991, some of whom accuse him of rape?
5. Sarah Idan, who was a Miss Universe contestant this year, was forced to flee what country, her homeland, after receiving death threats over a photo she took with Miss Israel she posted online?
6. The Walt Disney Company announced last week its intention to buy the entertainment division of what mass media company, valued at about $52 billion?
7. Dan Johnson, a Republican member of what southern state's House of Representatives, committed suicide last Wednesday after being accused of sexually molesting a 17-year-old girl five years ago?

Christmas Trivia
1. What Oscar-winning actor starred as Scrooge in the 1992 Muppet movie "The Muppet Christmas Carol?"
2. What 20th century US president once banned the Christmas tree from the White House?
3. What country created eggnog, the favorite beverage of Christmas?
4. The Vince Guaraldi Trio did the score to what classic Christmas TV special?
5. What Tchaikovsky ballet is a favorite during the Christmas season?
6. In what country is the Christmas tree believed to have originated?
7. What was the name of the group of pop music stars who came together to record the 1984 hit single "Do They Know It's Christmas" for African famine relief?
8. Name 2 of the 3 rituals associated with Festivus.

The Q Train: Christmas Movies By Decade Trivia
1. It's a Wonderful Life
2. Home Alone
3. The Santa Clause
4. Scrooged
5. Love Actually
6. A Christmas Story
7. Miracle on 34th Street
8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
9. The Nightmare Before Christmas
10. White Christmas

General Knowledge
1. What planet is nicknamed "The Red Planet?" ( 1 pt)
2. Hudson Bay is located in what nation? ( 1 pt)
3. How many squares are there on a standard chess board? ( 1 pt)
4. The Maurice J. Tobin Bridge is located in what major US city? ( 2 pt)
5. An otoscope is used for examination in which part of the human body? ( 2 pt)
6. France and what other European nation claim to have first invented French fries? ( 2 pt)
7. When ordering a dish "a la crecy", what is it garnished with? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What is the only organization to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize three different times? ( 5 points)
2. What cartoon character was the first to appear on a US postage stamp? ( 3 points)
3. Stretching over 4400 miles, what is the world's longest mountain range above sea level? ( 4 points)
4. "Luckiest Man" and "Iron Horse" are titles of two biographies of what famous athlete? ( 4 points)
5. In 2006, a National Geographic map had soccer as the most popular sport in nearly every nation of the world. What team sport tops the list in just three: Latvia, Lithuania and the Philippines? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Anderson Cooper; 2. Hurricane Irma; 3. Oprah Winfrey; 4. Russell Simmons; 5. Iraq; 6. 21st Century Fox; 7. Kentucky.

Christmas Trivia
1. Michael Caine; 2. Theodore Roosevelt; 3. England; 4. "A Charlie Brown Christmas;" 5. "The Nutcracker;" 6. Germany; 7. Band Aid; 8. The Festivus Pole, Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength.

The Q Train: Christmas Films By Decade Trivia
1. 1940s (1946); 2. 1990s (1990); 3. 1990s (1994); 4. 1980s (1988); 5. 2000s (2003); 6. 1980s (1983); 7. 1940s (1947); 8. 2000s (2000); 9. 1990s (1993); 10. 1950s (1954).

General Knowledge
1. Mars; 2. Canada; 3. 64; 4. Boston; 5. ears; 6. Belgium; 7. carrots.

IQ Trivia
1. International Red Cross; 2. Bugs Bunny; 3. Andes; 4. Lou Gehrig; 5. basketball.

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Christmas Extravaganza On Tuesday

Trivia will be happening this Tuesday night, December 19th at 8:30 PM, with "Christmas Trivia" as the Special Category. It will be seven questions connected to the holiday, with a special bonus question to conclude the round. The Q Train lightning round will be "Christmas Movies By Decade Trivia." I will give you the names of ten famous Christmas-themed films throughout the years, and you'll tell me what decade it was originally released in, and it will be the original films only (no remakes).

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Hudson Bay is located in what nation?"

I look forward to seeing many of you Tuesday night for another great night of Trivia!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Trivia Q&A: December 12

We had a good crowd last night for Trivia on a cold night in New York and it also being the first night of Hanukkah. 13 teams took part in the festivities, and it was good to be back in the saddle hosting after being away last week (and thanks again to Matt for doing the hosting duties last week). It was also nice to see my old friend and long time Trivia Night supporter Dave Lipman back in the bar for Trivia last night, as he moved away from New York earlier this year. We had a close three-team race into the final rounds, but the team of DIMS pulled out the win, after getting off to a slow start. They were the only team to get 4 of 5 correct in IQ Trivia, and won the night with 45 points. Congrats to Ken and Derek on another great win.

Second place went to Turkey Club with 41 points, and third place went to Roy No More with 35 points.

Best Team Name: Her Name is Molly, If I Make It The Team Name, I Won't Forget It

Current Events
1. The city council of what major US city voted last week to become the nation's largest city to license marijuana sales beginning in 2018?
2. What Central American country had a presidential election last month but still has no official winner over claims the vote was fraudulent and it led thousands to protest and the police to go on strike?
3. What country's parliament legalized same-sex marriage last Thursday after years of fierce public debate?
4. Doctors recently discovered brain abnormalities in 24 diplomats who recently worked in the US embassy in what country and many are convinced these were targeted attacks?
5. Rep. Trent Franks, from what western state, is resigning from Congress amid reports he offered an aide $5 million to be a surrogate for his child?
6. What game show host is being sued by a former employee who claims the host never paid him for the thousands of dollars he raised for the host's charity?
7. Sports Illustrated picked two athletes from two different  sports teams from what US city as their co-winners of the "Sportsperson of the Year" for 2017?

Pennsylvania Trivia
1. Carnegie-Mellon University is found in what Pennsylvania city?
2. What yearly sporting event is held in Williamsport, PA?
3. What 19th US president is the only one born in the state of Pennsylvania?
4. Pennsylvania was the second US state to ratify the Constitution. What state was first?
5. Within three, how many electoral votes does Pennsylvania have in the Electoral College?
6. The Ben Franklin Bridge is found at what Pennsylvania city?
7. Of all the current pro sports teams in PA in the 4 major sports, which won has won the most titles in their history?

The Q Train: True or False Trivia
1. Singer/songwriter Paul Anka wrote Frank Sinatra's hit song "My Way."
2. Dueling is legal in Paraguay, as long as both parties are registered blood donors.
3. Yale University is America's oldest university.
4. John F. Kennedy was the first US president to be born in a hospital.
5. The dog was the first domesticated animal.
6. Twinkies have a shelf life of nearly 20 years.
7. Dallas is the largest city by population in the state of Texas.
8. Coca-Cola at one time actually contained cocaine.
9. The host of the children's TV show "Blue's Clues", Steve Burns, died of a heroin overdose.
10. George Orwell got the tile for his novel "1984" by reversing the last two numbers, as it was written in 1948.

General Knowledge
1. What is the last letter in the Greek alphabet? ( 1 pt)
2. Keyzer Soze was a mysterious character in what 1995 film? ( 1 pt)
3. What sign of the Zodiac is the Archer? ( 1 pt)
4. "Bad Medicine" was a 1988 number one hit by what rock band? ( 2 pt)
5. What immortal figure was credited with saying "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration? ( 2 pt)
6. The game of jai alai originated in what country?( 2 pt)
7. At over 42,000 square miles, what is the largest island in the Caribbean in area? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What eastern US state is the country's major producer of cranberries? ( 4 points)
2. Bedloe's Island is currently known by what name, which was changed in 1956? ( 4 points)
3. Which highly anticipated day is the busiest of the year for plumbers? ( 5 points)
4. "Mookie Blaylock", a former NBA player, was the original name of what 1990/2000s superstar rock band? ( 4 points)
5. What Hollywood film director directed Michael Jackson's 1988 video "Bad?" ( 3 points)

Current Events
1. Los Angeles; 2. Honduras; 3. Australia; 4. Cuba; 5. Arizona; 6. Steve Harvey; 7. Houston (Jose Altuve & J.J. Watt)

Pennsylvania Trivia
1. Pittsburgh; 2. Little League World Series; 3. James Buchanan; 4. Delaware; 5. 20; 6. Philadelphia; 7. Pittsburgh Steelers (6).

The Q Train: True or False Trivia
1. True; 2. true; 3. false, Harvard; 4. false, Jimmy Carter; 5. true; 6. false, 25 days; 7. false, Houston; 8. true; 9. false; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. Omega; 2. "The Usual Suspects;" 3. Sagittarius; 4. Bon Jovi; 5. Thomas Edison; 6. Spain; 7. Cuba.

IQ Trivia
1. Massachusetts; 2. Liberty Island; 3. Black Friday; 4. Pearl Jam; 5. Martin Scorsese.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

As 2018 Dawns, A New Sheriff's in Town

I haven't written much about the Red Sox this year, as the return of my Trivia Night has taken up much of my time on the blog. But with the Winter Meetings now in full swing, it's time to catch up on a few things.

Alex Cora replaces John Farrell as Red Sox manager for 2018. It seems to be a widely popular move, especially with the Red Sox going out in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year. Farrell can be proud of what he accomplished in Boston, winning a World Series in 2013 and three division titles. As time goes on, he will be more appreciated for what he did in Boston, being just the second manager in recent times to lead the Red Sox to the Promised Land. But it was clear the Sox needed a change, and a new voice in the manager's office.

Cora played for the Red Sox from 2005-2008, mostly as a utility infielder. I remember Peter Gammons calling Cora the smartest player in baseball, and that he would be an MLB manager one day. He comes to the job with very little managerial experience, having just managed in the Puerto Rican Winter League, and was the bench coach for last year's World Series champions in Houston. Of course, turning the keys of the kingdom over to someone who hasn't managed in the majors before is a risk, but there are recent examples of men who have succeeded with no managerial experience anywhere (Dave Roberts and Mike Matheny come to mind). Cora knows what fishbowl he's walking into, and left a great impression on everyone at his press conference.

More changes are coming to Boston, that's for sure. NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton was just traded to New York this past weekend, and by checking with some on social media, the Red Sox shouldn't even bother playing next season, and the Yankees should be awarded the 2018 World Series trophy right now. Calm down folks.

I remember back in 2004 when Alex Rodriguez was traded to New York, and I saw a similar reaction. I wrote one simple line on email to my friends who were worried about this: "Alex Rodriguez can't pitch." And now I substitute Stanton's name in that sentence. I'd be more worried if New York had acquired a 20-game winner like Corey Kluber, because as we all know, pitching (and defense) win teams championships. And I am glad the Sox didn't bring in Stanton, as the Sox have had way to many odious contracts over recent years, and Stanton's maybe the worst. He's still owed $295 million for ten years. And given Stanton's injury history (he's only played 150 games once in his career and that was last year). I really thought he'd stay in the NL, but once he turned down the offer from the Giants and Cardinals, and Dodgers passed on him, the Yankees were really the only team who could take his contract.

And to those "worried" about the new combo of Stanton and Aaron Judge playing for New York, Peter Abraham posted this stat on Twitter this past weekend: Stanton and Judge combined lifetime against Red Sox pitchers currently on their roster are 17-for-93 with one home run and 37 strikeouts.

Now, the ball is in Dave Dombrowski's court.

So what does he do? J.D. Martinez is the most attractive free agent out there, and his numbers are even better than Stanton's over the past three years. But he has Scott Boras as an agent, and you know the price for the Red Sox will be very high. The Sox also have a crowded outfield, so does Martinez DH, and if he does, what happens with Hanley Ramirez? If he gets 497 plate appearances, his option for 2019 automatically kicks in.

I'm not sure what DD will do, but he has a history of making big trades that no one saw coming, and the pressure is squarely on him with New York making such a big splash this past weekend. And you can just bet if the Winter Meetings pass with no big deals happening, social media will scream bloody murder for DD to do SOMETHING.

Dombrowski has plenty of time, as Spring Training doesn't begin for over two months from now. He should make the right moves, not those to please the fans. I offer no suggestions, as I'll just sit back and see what the Red Sox do. A new man's in charge, and the rivalry with the behemoths to the south is sure to be ramped up in 2018.

Stay tuned folks, it should be quite a ride.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Keystone State Trivia On Tuesday

Trivia will be happening this Tuesday night, December 12th at 8:30 PM, with "Pennsylvania Trivia" as the Special Category. I will ask you seven questions connected to our neighbors in the Keystone State. The Q Train lightning round will be "True or False Trivia."

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What is the last letter of the Greek alphabet?"

My thanks to Matt Solowey for his hosting last week in my absence. Glad that everything went very well, and I am happy to be back. Looking forward to seeing many of you on Tuesday for a great night of Trivia Q&A!

Monday, December 04, 2017

Pinch-Hitting for Me on Tuesday

Trivia will be happening on Tuesday night, December 5th, at 8:30 PM at Professor Thom’s, and as many of you know, I’ll be away on assignment this week and will not be hosting. But Trivia regular Matt Solowey will be taking over hosting duties, and I will return next week. So, this week’s Special Category will be “Cocktail Trivia”, in honor of the 84th anniversary of the end of Prohibition on Tuesday. Matt will give you the ingredients to seven classic cocktails, and you name the drink it makes. The Q Train lightning round will be “Which Is Taller Trivia.” Matt will give you ten pairs of people, places and things, and you have to say which of the two is the taller one.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
“What is the fewest number of Oscar nominations a movie received while still winning Best Picture?”

Matt will be doing the same format that I do on Trivia Night, and the prizes will be the same as well. I hope that many of you will come out for Trivia on Tuesday, as I’m sure Matt will do a great job in my place!