Thursday, November 29, 2007

Six Years Ago Today

It's hard to believe that George Harrison has been gone for six years now. We miss you George.

“Give me love, give me peace on earth, give me light, give me life, keep me free from birth, give me hope, help me cope, with this heavy load, trying to, touch and reach you with, heart and soul.”
George Harrison, "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The 2007 World Series DVD

I got my copy of the 2007 World Series DVD yesterday, on the first day it went on sale. I also got it in the first store I checked in, namely the Barnes & Noble store on Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan. (The clerk told me they were selling strong on the first day of sale. Good to see the Sox fans in NYC out there grabbing it!)

I watched it today, and it certainly was a joy to relive those great moments from this past year's championship. The DVD is narrated by Matt Damon, and done in a very low key manner that makes it all the more enjoyable. It is centered on the Red Sox (naturally because they won) and their three postseason title wins. Not much is said about the regular season (and very little said about the Yankees as well), and things like Clay Buchholz' no-hitter and Tim Wakefield's 17-win season are not mentioned at all.

But the film goes into the Sox march back from being 3-1 down against Cleveland, with plenty of interviews with the players and coaches. The Rockies season on the DVD basically begins with the amazing 21 out of 22 win streak they went on just to make it to the Wild Card tiebreaker.

But like with the 2004 World Series DVD, each game is broken down, and I couldn't help but think of the corresponding WS game from 2004, and how much they parallel each other. The film lasts just over one hour, but there are many nice extra features to the DVD package as well, like the last out of the AL East clinching game, the final out of the ALDS, the conclusion of the Sox win in Game 7 over the Indians, Josh Beckett opening the World Series with three strikeouts in the first inning, and the World Series and MVP trophy presentations (and it proves once again what a jerk Jeanne Zelasko truly is).

And one final thing I noticed from the closing credits. Eric Hinske is shown making a relay throw to first base to pick off Alex Rodriguez in that game from August in Yankee Stadium after he had singled to left field.

It marks Slappy's only appearance in the DVD.

I'm sure some Red Sox fans will quibble over some things being left off the video, but it's still fun to relive another great accomplishment in Red Sox history. (And I hear that NESN is putting out their own video about the 2007 World Champions some time soon. Can't wait for that.) No matter, I'm just happy to have two World Series DVDs in four years to put on my shelf.

Speed It Up

I know many of you out there are college football fans like I am, and I've been a loyal Notre Dame fan for a good part of my life. But I'm sure many of you have noticed how the length of college games have just gotten longer and longer, especially at the Division 1-A level. It seems like it's a miracle if they can play a major college game in under 3 1/2 hours these days.

Of course, there are are numerous things like TV timeouts and instant replays that back games up, and there's not much you can do about that. But in watching college games, I've come up with something that I think could speed games up considerably.

There are many differences between the NFL and NCAA in terms of rules, and there is one rule that leads to why college games can go on longer. That is that rule that states that the clock stops when a team gets a first down, and it doesn't start again until the first down markers on the sidelines are set. The NFL doesn't have this rule, and the clock just keeps on going.

I suggest that the NCAA not wipe out the rule, but amend it. The rule should only be in place in the final two minutes of each half. After all, when does it matter that the clock stops for that rule? Only when a team in driving in the closing moments for a tying or winning score 9or the first half when a team is trying to end with a score). So why should the clock have to stop with 6 minutes to go in the first quarter, or 10 minutes to play in the third, for instance, just to move the chains? Seems silly to me.

The best part of changing this rule, besides picking up the pace of the game, is that no one will notice this rule is in effect. That is, not until a team is driving for a late score and has no time outs left...

Many years ago, the NFL took steps to quicken games that made the game go by a bit brisker, and I think it's getting to the point the NCAA has to do something too. The game is just going on way too long. (And I'd bet the NCAA would come up with some half-assed reason why this couldn't work, I'm sure.) And with the major bowls coming up in January, the halftimes will be even longer than the regular season ones, so you can just about count on some games going four hours.

Trivia Q&A: November 27

It was another huge night of Trivia at Professor Thom's, as for the second straight week we had a record number 23 teams competing. The turnouts on Tuesday just continue to be astounding, and it's really good to see some of the same folks, as well as new ones, coming in for it. I thought that once the holidays kicked in that the numbers would decline. I have been proven wrong so far.

We had some fabulous scores on the November 27 Trivia, as six teams got a perfect score of ten. I guess I made General Knowledge a little bit harder this week, as many of the scores were five or less. Although two teams got perfect scores in True or False, no one noticed that the answers perfectly alternated "true" and "false." I actually did that deliberately to see if anyone would pick up on it. No one did, and I heard a few snickers when I announced that I had done it on purpose.

Going into the final round, we had eight teams with thirty or more points. A team called I'm Not Paying $5 For That Glass, who was in third place and three points behind heading into IQ Trivia, ran the table in that round, getting all five questions right and wound up winning by a comfortable seven points. Nice job, guys.

We had something I'd never seen before in the final round. One team, that struggled mightily the entire night with just 15 points, got an amazing 21 points in the last round to finish respectably. I don't think I have ever seen a team get more points in the last round then they did in the previous four, and by six points to boot. Well done.

Current Events
1. Kevin Rudd was elected Prime Minister of this country on Saturday, and beat out the incumbent PM by six percentage points.
2. This athlete/actor/reality TV star was surprised last week when a reporter informed him that his wife had filed for divorce.
3. A Canadian cruise ship struck an iceberg and sank last Friday, and it was the first cruise liner to ever sink in this ocean.
4. This country was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations last Saturday after its president refused to lift a national state of emergency it was under.
5. Julia Carson, a congresswoman from this Midwestern state, revealed over the weekend that she is suffering from terminal lung cancer.
6. Hackers sent out e-mails to fans of this pop group in South America attempting to trick them into thinking the group canceled a show in Buenos Aires.
7. This college football team, who won last Saturday's "Border War" game, is now the number one team in the USA in the latest BCS poll.
8. This former NBA star is being sued by a woman who worked at a Las Vegas hotel who claims he assaulted her last year.
9. Eight soccer fans were killed in this country on Sunday when a section of stands collapsed during a match.
10. A Middle East peace conference was held today at this US location and included invitees from the UN, Arab League and the European Union.

Answers: 1. Australia; 2. Hulk Hogan; 3. Antarctic; 4. Pakistan; 5. Indiana; 6. The Spice Girls; 7. Missouri Tigers; 8. Dennis Rodman; 9. Brazil; 10. Naval Academy @ Annapolis, MD.

November 27 Trivia

1. George Moscone, who was mayor of this US city, was assassinated along with city supervisor Harvey Milk on this date in 1978.
2. John Major succeeded this legendary figure as British Prime Minister in 1990 on this day.
3. This legendary guitarist, considered by many to be the best in rock history, was born on this date in 1942.
4. This man was confirmed by the Senate as Vice President of the USA on this date in 1973.
5. This baseball player, who was just selected as 2007 National League MVP last week, celebrates his 29th birthday today.
6. This woman, who Neil Diamond recently revealed he once wrote a hit song named after her, turns 50 today.
7. This dramatist, wrote such classic plays as "The Iceman Cometh" and "Long Day's Journey Into Night," died on this date in 1953.
8. Gordie Howe, the legendary hockey star, became the first player in NHL history to reach 1000 points on this date in 1960 while playing for this NHL team.
9. Ross McWhirter, co-founder of the Guinness Book of World Records, was assassinated by this group in 1975 after offering a reward for the capture of those responsible for a number of killings in the UK.
10. This gangster, who was known for his youthful appearance and short stature, was killed by the FBI in a shootout on this date in 1934.

Answers: 1. San Francisco; 2. Margaret Thatcher; 3. Jimi Hendrix; 4. Gerald Ford; 5. Jimmy Rollins; 6. Caroline Kennedy; 7. Eugene O'Neill; 8. Detroit Red Wings; 9. IRA; 10. Baby Face Nelson.

True or False ("The Q Train")

1. The Shakers are a religious group known for its furniture design and craftsmanship.
2. The Nubian Desert is located on the continent of Asia.
3. Broccoli, cauliflower and kale are all members of the cabbage food family.
4. The central character in the novel "The Scarlet Letter" is named Daisy Buchanan.
5. The capital of the state of Arizona is named for a mythological animal.
6. A substance's boiling point is the temperature at which it changes from liquid to solid.
7. Kobe is a Japanese city famous for its beef.
8. Handcuffs are depicted on the logo of the TV series, "America's Most Wanted."
9. "Generation X" and "Shampoo Planet" are novels that were written by author Douglas Coupland.
10. The New York Yankees have retired the most numbers of any American sports franchise.

Answers: 1. true; 2. false, it's in Africa; 3. true; 4. false, Hester Prynne; 5. true; 6. false, liquid to gas; 7. true; 8. false, it's an eagle; 9. true; 10. false, the Boston Celtics have.

General Knowledge
1. Walt Whitman wrote the poem, "O Captain! My Captain!" about the death of which famous American?
2. What nationality was the notorious outlaw Rob Roy?
3. What singer made a comeback in 1988 with a cover of Prince's song, "Kiss?"
4. Which performer won a 1988 Grammy for his album, "The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000?"
5. Between Horatio, Ophelia and Laertes, which one is still alive at the end of "Hamlet?"
6. A compact disc player uses what device in order to "read" CDs?
7. In the 1993 movie, "The Fugitive," Lt. Sam Gerard works for what government agency?
8. What fraction of the vote is needed in both houses of Congress to override a president's veto?
9. What female musician sang the theme song for the TV series, "Dawson's Creek?"
10. The annual Pulitzer Prize awards are bestowed by which university?

Answers: 1. Abraham Lincoln; 2. Scottish; 3. Tom Jones; 4. Mel Brooks; 5. Horatio; 6. laser; 7. U.S. Marshals; 8. two-thirds; 9. Paula Cole; 10. Columbia.

IQ Trivia

1. Who was President of the United States between Grover Cleveland's two nonconsecutive terms? ( 4 points)
2. What was Elvis Presley's military rank upon his discharge from the Army? ( 5 points)
3. To the nearest thousand mile, the earth's circumference at the equator is how many miles? ( 6 points)
4. Speleology is the study of what? ( 5 points)
5. In 1886, the Haymarket Riots took place in what U.S. city? ( 5 points)

Answers: 1. Benjamin Harrison; 2. sergeant; 3. 25,000 miles (actually 24,900); 4. caves; 5. Chicago.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"The Closer" Departs

No, not Jonathan Papelbon, who figures to be the anchor of the Red Sox bullpen for the next decade. It's Dr. Charles Steinberg, the executive VP for public affairs for the Red Sox, who is leaving for a major front office post with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dr. Steinberg came over to the Red Sox with the current ownership group in 2002, and has done a lot of great things with the Boston community and set up the Trophy Tour in 2004 and the Rings ceremony in April 2005.

He was also a regular at the BLOHARDS meetings over the last few years, and always attended with a number of people from the Red Sox family. Every meeting ended with Dr. Steinberg taking questions from the fans and chatting about the team for about 45 minutes or so. He earned the nickname "The Closer."

I also had the pleasure of meeting him on a couple of occasions and he was a nice man to chat with. I'm sorry to see him leave, and I wish him all the best on his future with the Dodgers.

Monday, November 26, 2007

November 27 Trivia on Tuesday

The special category on Trivia Night on Tuesday night will be "November 27 Trivia." It will be ten questions about people, places or things connected with that date in history. We will also have the usual four categories and we'll get underway at about 9 PM.

The Sneak Peek question for tomorrow's contest is:
"A compact disc player uses what device in order to 'read' CDs?"

Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and can turn out for Tuesday night's festivities.

For the Final Year of Shea

The Mets unveiled a new patch they will wear for all home games in the 2008 season. It is to commemorate the 45th and final year of Shea Stadium, as the Mets will be moving into Citi Field, which is being built across the Shea parking lot as we speak.

I like patches that teams wear on their sleeves to remember special anniversaries and such. I do like this one, as it shows two versions of Shea, with the New York skyline in the background, and the years the stadium was in existence on the front. I liked it so much I put it on my blog, right above the "Mets Links" section.

And it's hard to believe but Shea Stadium will have lasted the exact number of MLB seasons that Ebbets Field lasted, 45 years. The much-beloved home of the Brooklyn Dodgers opened in 1913 (a year after Fenway debuted) and was around until the Dodgers left the borough in 1957.

The Season of Giving For Manning

The Vikings were given many gifts by the New York Giants at the Meadowlands yeterday. And Eli Manning was Santa Claus without the red suit or white beard as he threw four interceptions, and three were returned for TDs as the Vikings won easily, and shockingly, 41-17.

With big brother Peyton watching from the stands, Eli threw interceptions that were returned by Darren Sharper (pictured), Dwight Smith and Chad Greenway for scores. The Vikings became the first NFL team to return three picks for TDs since 1984.

The game got off to a great start for the Vikings when Tarvaris Jackson threw a 60-yard TD to Sidney Rice on the second play from scrimmage. The Giants answered it right back with a nice drive that culminated in a touchdown as Reuben Droughns ran in from one yard.

The Vikings took the lead on Sharper's interception return, and added scores in the second quarter on Chester Taylor's 8-yard run and Ryan Longwell's 26-yard field goal.

The Vikings iced the game in the third with a long 14-play drive that ended with another Longwell FG, but drive took up nearly 9 1/2 minutes of the period. As the fourth quarter started, Manning threw back-to-back TD interceptions that drew out the boo-birds in full force (those who were still there). Manning was a big part the Giants lost, but the offense was out of sync for the entire game after that first TD drive, committing dumb penalties and dropping passes. The Giants sure didn't look like a 7-3 team bidding for a playoff spot yesterday.

Tarvaris Jackson did a nice job leading the team to the win. Nothing special in his passing stats (10-for-12 for 129 yards), but he showed some nice scrambling ability and converted a number of third down plays. Chester Taylor ran for 77 yards, as Adrian Peterson sat out a second straight game (the Vikes are 2-0 without him), but the defense was the star for the Vikings yesterday. The secondary sure didn't look like the 32nd ranked pass defense in the NFL.

And all of a sudden, the Vikings are very much alive for a playoff berth. Next Sunday is a huge matchup, with the 6-5 Detroit Lions at the Metrodome. A win over them could put the Vikings squarely in the Wild Card race, and they have a favorable schedule the rest of the way after that.

Who would have thought it two weeks ago.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Lost Season Mercifully Ends

Notre Dame completed one of the worst seasons in its storied history on a high note yesterday, as they beat Stanford, 21-14, at Palo Alto.

The Fighting Irish end the 2007 season at 3-9, and with two consecutive wins. Stanford is ending a pretty rotten season also, as they are now 3-8, but a win is a win as they say.

(And by the way, I've always wondered something. Why does Stanford call themselves the "Cardinal" and not the "Cardinals?" It's like calling the Boston baseball team "the Red Sock." Pretty dumb if you ask me.)

Freshman Robert Hughes rushed for 136 yards (pictured), and looked impressive in the final two games, rushing for 246 yards in the last two games, and he's becoming a fan favorite among the Irish faithful, and a reason for hope next year. He also rushed for the winning TD with 6 minutes left to give ND the win.

But I will also remember the lousy officiating that went on in this game. David Grimes made a sensational catch in the end zone that looked to be the TD that broke the 14-14 tie in the third quarter, as it appeared from every angle that the ball never touched the ground. Every replay seemed to confirm that, but somehow the ref overturned it, and ND was eventually forced to try a long field goal, one that they missed. I don't know what angle convinced the ref to take away that TD, but ND got shafted on that call. The game also got a little chippy at times, as both teams have had a frustrating year, and both appeared to want to start brawls on different occasions. The refs nearly lost control of the game, but fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.

So, Notre Dame's lost season has finally concluded. I've heard that next year's incoming class of players is pretty strong, will make ND a much better team, and coach Charlie Weis is going to confer with his old bosses at New England to try to correct many of the glaring mistakes that were made this year. I wish him all the best with that.

2007 has mercifully ended for Notre Dame football. I can only hope a once-proud program gets back on the right track again in 2008.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Twisted Steel"

The other night I was surfing the web when I came across this very special clip from YouTube. It is of Ian Hunter, the legendary singer and guitarist from Mott The Hoople, and a song he wrote a few years ago called "Twisted Steel." It is a tribute to the 9/11 victims, and Ian and myself both have something in common regarding it.

Ian also knew my friend Joyce, because he is married to her cousin.

The video is a poignant tribute to her and all the victims. It is mostly film clips of the aftermath of the worst day in our history, and lasts just under three minutes. Ian also dedicates the song to Joyce every time he plays it live. I saw it for the first time the other night, and I thought I'd share it with all of you.

Nice job Mr. Hunter. I'm sure you've made Joyce proud.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The "Yankee Fan Standby" Again

I saw this letter in today's New York Daily News' "Voice of the People" column, and had to comment on it. (It's always a great source of bizarre entertainment!)

Say Ay!
Bronx: Any person who doesn't believe having A-Rod on the Yankees is a great thing knows absolutely nothing about baseball. If Voicer Gisela Roubeck wants to be a Met fan, good riddance. And if Voicer Dave Carbray thinks the Red Sox will ever match the glorious history of the Yankees after a couple of good seasons, I think Bellevue has a room just for him. Joseph M. Hendon

I just love letters like this. You can legitimately debate A-Rod resigning being a good thing for the Yankees with other Yankee fans who would have been glad to see him gone. (They could have better spent on the money on more of a "team" player, as well as more pitching, for example.) And I did see plenty of Yankee fans who wrote into the New York tabloids saying they were glad he was gone when he originally opted out. And I couldn't find one--not one--Red Sox fan who wanted the Sox to sign him. Rodriguez is a "high maintenance" player who most Red Sox fans wanted no part of. He maybe the best "regular season" player in baseball right now (and the Yankees wouldn't have made the playoffs without him in 2007), but he still doesn't have a World Series ring yet.

I can't say I remember Dave Carbray's letter, but let me set you straight on one thing, Mr. Hendon. As Red Sox fans, and I can't emphasize this enough: we do not care who many championships the Yankees have. And we never will. No baseball team will ever match New York's number, certainly not in my lifetime. World Series championships are forever, and no one can ever take them away. But you know what, for Red Sox fans (as well as Mets fans and the fans of all other teams not called the Yankees), it doesn't matter at all. All we care about is watching our team win a title now, so we can enjoy it. (And those were a couple of good seasons? I think great seasons is a better adjective.)

Once again, the old "Yankee fan standby" pops up (which always does when things ain't going so good for their team): We've won more titles than your team ever will.

Big deal. We've got the championship now. That's what matters. Deal with it.

Nick Saban is a Big Fat Idiot

Many of you may have heard about this strange story earlier this week. Apparently, Alabama football coach Nick Saban drew a very bizarre parallel when talking to the media during the week about the fact his team was upset the past two weeks, first to Mississippi State and the other to the University of Louisiana-Monroe. (Alabama was a 24 1/2 point favorite in that game.)

From the New York Daily News:

"Changes in history usually occur after some kind of catastrophic event," he said when he met with the media this week. "It may be 9/11, which sort of changed the spirit of America relative to a catastrophic event. Pearl Harbor got us ready for World War II, or whatever, and that was a catastrophic event.

"And I don't think anyone in this room would have bet that we could lose back-to-back games to Mississippi State or ULM, no disrespect to either one of those teams."

Yep, this guy's comparing losing two football games, two games that only the most diehard of Crimson Tide fans will even remember when the season is over, to two of the worst events in American history. Hey, I know that football usually gets compared to "war," but this is simply beyond ridiculous, and really offensive to anyone who suffered a loss on those two tragic days. If he had said the losses were simply "embarrassing" or "disappointing", he would have been correct. But "catastrophic"? I know college football is taken extremely seriously in Alabama, but that comparison makes me think he should take a vacation, and soon.

Football fans remember Saban as the guy who ran out on the Miami Dolphins a couple of years ago (note the picture I used here) when he promised he was going nowhere. He's another clueless putz who just doesn't get the magnitude or devastation of what happened on September 11, 2001. No sporting event, no matter how "important" it might be viewed in some circles, should ever be mentioned in the same breath as the 9/11 attacks or Pearl Harbor. Last time I looked, no one got killed in the Alabama loss to MSU or ULM. And, the fact that Saban said this stupidity two days after the last loss and had time to think about it makes what he said all the more appalling. If he had said it right after the loss, you could spin it away as an gross overreaction to an upset loss.

I certainly don't expect this moron to apologize or anything. I bet he's probably still wondering what the fuss is all about. Maybe Saban should take a trip to New York in the off season and take a look at the hole in Lower Manhattan where 2,749 innocent souls perished six years ago. It might give him a little perspective.

The only thing he has to worry about now is his team not winning games. If Alabama continues to slide, then he will be apologizing: to the Crimson Tide fans after the ax falls on him.

That is, if he hasn't already bailed on the program for more money somewhere else by then.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm Thankful

Thanksgiving Day has always been one of my favorite days of the year. It is a day to be with families and be thankful for what you have in life. When I think of Thanksgiving, I always think of a number of things right away. Turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie; football on TV (the Detroit Lions usually losing and the Dallas Cowboys usually winning); the great Peanuts special (I missed it this year because it was on last night while I was doing Trivia); "March of the Wooden Soldiers" with Laurel and Hardy on Channel 11 on Thanksgiving morning; the great Arlo Guthrie singing "Alice's Restaurant" on Q-104.3 at noon every year; and of course seeing Santa Claus on TV riding down Broadway in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Remember, it's NOT officially the Christmas season until that event happens!)

But of course, there are many other things I am thankful for, and on this Thanksgiving I thought I'd list a few (in no particular order).

For my family and friends. I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful and caring people in life. I have a great family for which I am thankful every day. Many of my best friends came into my life in recent years, through watching the Red Sox games at Professor Thom's and other establishments. And many others, especially courtesy of the Internet, came into my life because of one terrible morning in 2001. Even something special can come out of the worst imaginable catastrophe.

For good health. I knew not smoking when I was younger would pay off some day.

For seeing the Red Sox win not just one, but two championships. When I met Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner back in June, I thanked them both "for making my life in New York City so much more bearable." And thanks also for re-signing both Mike Lowell and Curt Schilling.

For our military. Thousands of them are away from their families during the holidays, and they are in my prayers every night. I thank God I live in a country where so many brave men and women put their lives on the line so I can live in a free nation. I admire them so much, and they are better people than I could ever be. That goes especially for those soldiers who've made the supreme sacrifice.

For all of my readers. I thank all of you for making The Mighty Quinn Media Machine such a success, and a joy to write. The feedback I get from you is great. I'm glad many of you have let me know you enjoy my ramblings.

I want to wish all of you, whether I know you or not, a very blessed Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Trivia Q&A: November 20

We had a record number of teams on Tuesday night for Trivia: a whopping 23 teams taking part. Before the night, I figured that we'd either have a big turnout or a very few in because of the Thanksgiving holiday. The bar was the most crowded I've ever seen it for a Trivia Night. (All the tables were taken and I had to grade the answers on the table I host the Trivia on. That's the first time I've ever done that.)

The toughest round of the night was the Thanksgiving Trivia round. I thought there might be some controversy over the George H. W. Bush question, as I found out earlier that day from my friend Jere in Boston that Harry Truman did NOT "pardon" the first turkey ever, and Bush began the tradition in 1989. (Somehow it seems to have been accepted by the media, but it is really just an urban legend.) A few said Truman and one person actually knew the right answer. But there was a bit of controversy over the Abraham Lincoln question over who proclaimed the Thanksgiving holiday as the fourth Thursday in November.

(Update: I received an email on Wednesday from Tarik, who was on one of the Trivia teams, and he pointed out that Lincoln was the first to proclaim Thanksgiving the "last" Thursday in November, while FDR proclaimed it the "fourth" Thursday, and that became law in 1941. My apologies to him and to everyone else who said FDR, and he can add a point to his team's total last night. I also made the correction in the answers section. Yes, the Maven does goof every once in a while.)

The scores were close going into the IQ Trivia round. Five teams had at least 30 points going into that round, but two teams came from even further back to grab the top two spots of the night, as most of the leading teams did not do well in the round. That's What Jim Said rolled up 20 points to take second place, and Itty Bitty Committee did even better, getting 4 of the 5 questions right for 21 points and won the night by three points. My congratulations to them on a great comeback victory.

Next Tuesday's special category will be on either sports or movies, due to popular demand of the bar. I'll decide which later this weekend. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone.

Current Events

1. Over 3000 people were killed last week when Cyclone Sidr struck this Asian country, with wind speeds up to 155 MPH.
2. Barry Bonds was indicted on federal charges of perjury and obstruction of justice charges last Thursday. How long did it take for the charges to be made after he first testified in the steroid investigation?
3. A 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck this South American country last week, killing two and injuring over 150 people.
4. The Census Bureau revealed that two Hispanic surnames are in the Top 10 in the U.S. list of all surnames. Name one of the two.
5. The American Society of Criminology named this city as "The Most Dangerous US City" for 2006, based on their analysis of FBI crime statistics.
6. Dick Wilson, an actor who was a pitchman in TV commercials for this product for over 20 years as "Mr. Whipple," died yesterday at age 91.
7. Brian May, a guitarist for this legendary rock band, was named chancellor of a university in Liverpool, England yesterday.
8. A methane explosion killed over 80 miners yesterday in this Eastern European country.
9. This troubled athlete was sentenced to just 24 hours in jail, but also received three years probation for DUI and drug possession yesterday.
10. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are celebrating this milestone wedding anniversary today in England.

Answers: 1. Bangladesh; 2. four years; 3. Chile; 4. Garcia and Rodriguez; 5. Detroit; 6. Charmin toilet paper; 7. Queen; 8. Ukraine; 9. Mike Tyson; 10. 60th (diamond).

Thanksgiving Trivia
1. Which US president first proclaimed the fourth Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving Day?
2. In which month is Thanksgiving Day celebrated in Canada?
3. What was the original name for the Pilgrims?
4. Captain John Smith founded which colony in Virginia?
5. How many days did the original Thanksgiving feast last?
6. Name one of the two NFL teams that traditionally hosts a game on Thanksgiving Day.
7. Which Midwestern state has the most number of live turkeys in production in America?
8. What percentage of workers are given Thanksgiving Day and the day after off in America in 2007?
9. Which president in the late 20th century was the first to start the tradition of "pardoning" a turkey before Thanksgiving?
10. What song by Arlo Guthrie is a musical monologue based on a true story of Thanksgiving 1965 and inspired a 1969 movie of the same name?

Answers: 1. Franklin D. Roosevelt; 2. October; 3. The Puritans; 4. Jamestown; 5. three; 6. Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys; 7. Minnesota (44.5 million in 2005); 8. 78%; 9. George H.W. Bush; 10. "Alice's Restaurant."

True or False ("The Q Train")
1. The dog comic strip character Marmaduke is actually a Great Dane.
2. St. Croix is not one of the US Virgin Islands.
3. Oprah Winfrey had a segment on her show called "Remembering Your Spirit."
4. Mongolia shares a border with Russia and India.
5. A zephyr is a type of flood.
6. "Grease" was a Broadway musical before it became a movie.
7. A ponderosa is a type of pine tree.
8. The cherry blossom trees surrounding the Jefferson Memorial was originally a gift from the city of Tokyo.
9. In the novel, "Little Women," the March Sisters' father joined the Union Army as a doctor.
10. The term "hang a louie" means make a left a turn.

Answers: 1. true; 2. false, it is; 3. true; 4. false, it borders Russia and China; 5. false, it's a type of wind; 6. true; 7. true; 8. true; 9. false, he joined as a chaplain; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. What type of garden material is also known as sphagnum?
2. What did JFK say in a famous speech that the US should do, not because it was "easy," but because it was "hard?"
3. What Broadway musical featured the song, "There's No Business Like Show Business?"
4. How many events make up a pentathlon?
5. What sauce gets its name from the Italian word meaning, "in sailor style?"
6. "Big Muddy" is the nickname for which U.S. river?
7. A phlebotomist is trained to perform what medical procedure?
8. Pyrex is a heat-resistant form of what material?
9. In the 1994 movie "The Shawshank Redemption," Andy Dufresne is wrongfully convicted of what crime?
10. "Pes planus" is the medical term for what condition?

Answers: 1. peat moss; 2. go to the moon; 3. "Annie Get Your Gun;" 4. five; 5. marinara; 6. Missouri River; 7. draw blood; 8. glass; 9. murder; 10. flat feet.

IQ Trivia
1. What civil rights activist popularized the phrase "black power" in a 1966 speech? (6 points)
2. In 1995, which female celebrity appeared as George Washington on the cover of the first issue of George Magazine? (5 points)
3. Until his departure in 1996, Iran-Contra participant Oliver North worked for what US agency? (5 points)
4. Pollex is the medical term for which part of the human body? ( 5 points)
5. Which Alfred Hitchcock film was originally filmed in 3-D? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. Stokely Carmichael; 2. Cindy Crawford; 3. National Security Council; 4. thumb; 5. "Dial M For Murder."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Turkey Day Trivia on Tuesday

In honor of Thursday's Thanksgiving Day holiday, we will be celebrating the day a few days early with a round of "Thanksgiving Day Trivia," with questions that have to do with the famous day we sit down at a large meal, give thanks and eat lots of turkey.

We will have the other usual categories, and we'll get going at about 9 PM.

Here is the Sneak Peek question for this week:
Which late 20th century president was the first to start the tradition of "pardoning" a turkey before Thanksgiving?

I hope many of you can begin your Thanksgiving holiday by joining us for Trivia on Tuesday night.

Lowell Agrees to a New Deal With Sox

Mike Lowell and the Red Sox today agreed in principle to a new three-year deal, worth about $37.5 million for the 2007 World Series MVP. Great to see him returning to the Red Sox, as it was an obvious fit that he return to Fenway Park.

Today's Boston Globe has a section called "5 Reasons Mike Lowell is better than A-Rod" and why it was better that Lowell play for the Sox than Slappy.

My favorite line is under Reason Number Five:
Unlike with A-Rod's wife, we're pretty sure Mrs. Lowell's wardrobe doesn't come with profanities.

Welcome back, Mike. It's great you'll be around another three seasons.

Lowell also finished fifth in the MVP voting today, just behind teammate David Ortiz. Magglio Ordonez was second with Vladimir Guerrero right behind him. The winner? Slappy.

Vikings Roll With Taylor

I thought the Vikings-Raiders game on Sunday had the potential of being another "Leonard Pinth-Garnell Game," namely more "Bad Football, NFL Style." But it turned out to a pretty decent game.

With Adrian Peterson sitting on the sidelines, Chester Taylor took over and the Vikings came out swinging. The scored the first time they had the ball, courtesy of Taylor's ten-yard run. But the next time they had the ball, Tarvaris Jackson proved he's still pretty green as an NFL QB. He was intercepted in the end zone, and the Vikings couldn't put Oakland in a hole. Former Viking Daunte Culpepper was flagged for downing the ball while in the end zone to give the Vikings a safety and a 9-0 lead (pictured).

Oakland capitalized on numerous Viking mistakes. They turned three fumbles into field goals, and the game was tied 19-19 at the half. The Vikings won the game in the fourth quarter when Taylor scored his third TD on a six-yard run. The Vikings won, 29-22, as Taylor rushed for 164 yards, and had a total of 202 yards from scrimmage. Jackson went 17-for-22 and 171 yards. He wasn't bad and has showed some improvement. But they still need a quality veteran QB as a high priority.

The terrific game by Chester Taylor was no real surprise, as he was the Vikings' MVP last season, and is still a quality NFL back. The club should be in no rush to bring back Adrian Peterson, as they should let him heal completely before letting him return. Taylor is more than an adequate replacement for him.

Granted, the Oakland Raiders are pretty awful (they're now 2-8), but it was a win nonetheless for the Vikings, who are now 4-6 and face the Giants at the Meadowlands next Sunday.

Scorched Earth

The New England Patriots just keep on rolling, and they took another opponent out to the woodshed, this time it was the Buffalo Bills. On Sunday night, they just beat them to a pulp, the final score being 56-10.

They are taking no prisoners right now, and are literally in a class by themselves. They are 10-0, and the 1972 Miami Dolphins players may not have any champagne celebration toasts this year.

The Pats, who look like they are doing football's 21st Century version of Sherman's March through Georgia, went up 35-7 at the half, and it was all over but what score the Patriots would end up winning by. They are just "embarrassingly great" right now, as Tom Brady threw five TDs in leading the rout. He now has 38 TD passes this year, and should break Peyton Manning's record of 49 easily.

This Patriots team reminds me so much of the 1998 Vikings, who set the NFL record with 556 points in a 16-game season. The Vikings were simply kicking everyone's ass that year. I remember a Sunday night game late that year they played against Jacksonville, who were a very good team and made the playoffs that season. They pummeled the Jags, 50-10, and like the Patriots, made it look incredibly easy. The Patriots are now averaging over 40 points a game, and are on a pace to pass the Vikings record by nearly 100 points. Scary.

And what do the 1998 Vikings and these Patriots have in common? Randy Moss. 1998 was Moss' rookie season. He's now caught an amazing 15 touchdowns this season, and should be a lock for Comeback Player of the Year.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bad Football

There was an old, recurring character on Saturday Night Live many years ago (back when the show was good) named Leonard Pinth-Garnell (pictured). He was played by Dan Aykroyd, and the premise of his character was that he was a snooty critic of really awful "highbrow" entertainment. Every sketch started with the word "bad," and it included such ones as "Bad Ballet," "Bad Poetry" and "Bad Opera."

Mr. Pinth-Garnell would end each sketch with such memorable lines as "Now that wasn't so good now, was it?" and "Oh, awful! Couldn't be worse! Couldn't be worse!" He would then take his program of the ersatz show he was watching and drop it into a garbage pail right next to him.

I couldn't help but think of Leonard while watching this afternoon's Notre Dame-Duke game, which was an epic battle of two 1-9 teams.

Bad Football.

Notre Dame looked like a really undisciplined team in the first half, making stupid penalties, especially one that killed their first drive of the game. But Duke was just as bad, and ND finally broke through at the end of the first half, scoring two TDs on passes from Jimmy Clausen, one right after a Duke fumble. Clausen was probably the best thing about the game, as he fired three TDs and was sacked just once. His confidence appears to be growing and he showed some good poise under pressure.

The fans had a treat near the end as Charlie Weis put in safety and fan favorite Tom Zbikowski in at QB once the game had gone to 28-0. Zbikowski had bothered Weis for years to put him in one day at QB, and since this was his last home game of his career, Weis relented. He just ran the ball when he was in at QB, as I bet Weis told him he'd probably kill him if he dared to throw it.

Duke broke the shutout in the closing minutes with a touchdown, but Notre Dame got the win, 28-7. It was the Fighting Irish's first and only home win of 2007, and they gave the fans something to feel good about as the season comes to a close. They also avoided another indignity, as if they had lost to Duke, it would have been the first Fighting Irish team to go winless at home in 74 years.

But this game also showed how really horrific Duke is. They maybe the worst team in Division 1-A.

It was truly a day of "Bad Football."

I bet Leonard Pinth-Garnell would be proud, and is probably smiling somewhere.

Newest Fenway Taunt For Jeter?

Last season, Red Sox fans at Fenway were wearing blonde masks to taunt Slappy with, after the revelations of his affair with that woman in Toronto.

Do you suppose a few enterprising Sox fans will be holding up enormous blowups of the above picture at Derek Jeter next season?

Lowell Not Going to New York

Peter Gammons reported last night that Mike Lowell will NOT be going to the Yankees, as with their signing of Alex Rodriguez about to happen, they will go with the combination of Jason Giambi, Andy Phillips and Shelley Duncan at first.

The whole Lowell-to-play-first-for-New York jazz was just a cheap Yankees ploy to get the Red Sox to up their offer to Lowell. The Yankees have a crowded lineup already and adding Lowell simply made no logical sense.There doesn't appear to be anything new on him re-signing with the Sox, and if there is, Red Sox brass are being very tight lipped about it. Their original 3-year, $39 million offer is still in play. No other team that has been rumored to be interested in Lowell is confirming that interest. Rumors about the Dodgers being interested if they can't land Miguel Cabrera have once again surfaced, but it doesn't appear they have contacted Lowell or his agents.

Hard to say when Lowell will make his decision. I wouldn't be surprised if he waits until the Winter Meetings, which won't happen for another couple of weeks.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Remember These Words

It sounds like the Alex Rodriguez return to the Bronx with a 10-year, $275 million deal is about to happen.


When the Yankees acquired Slappy in February 2004, there was all kinds of consternation from many in Red Sox Nation. But I sent out an email to a few friends to remind them of one simple fact. I will write it here again, as it's worth repeating.

Alex Rodriguez can't pitch.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bonds Indicted On Perjury Charges

The end of Barry Bonds' baseball career may now be in sight as he was indicted by a federal jury this afternoon on perjury and obstruction of justice charges in relation to the federal investigation as to whether he lied under oath about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

What a shock. I doubt now anyone will offer him a contract for 2008, and it wouldn't surprise me if MLB suspends him for this.

Anyone who read the book "Game of Shadows"(and I did) could tell you this was coming eventually. It's just that it took four years for the indictments to be handed down. That does require some kind of decent explanation.

And like Al Capone, the government wasn't going to get their man on the most serious charges. They gave him immunity back in 2003 when he testified in San Francisco about any alleged steroid use, but have come to the conclusion that he lied under oath. He's not being prosecuted for steroid use, but for lying about it. (It has a similar parallel to the Martha Stewart case of a few years back.)

Bonds is a world of trouble now. Uncle Sam doesn't like being lied to. It will be interesting to see if the government really goes after him, or they reach some plea deal that keeps him out of prison. Bonds was indicted on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. All told, he's facing the possibility of 30 years in the slammer.

And his buddy and trainer Greg Anderson, who's been sitting in jail for a year because he refused to cooperate with the investigation, was released from prison today. As of now it is not known if he rolled over on Bonds (so that's why the indictments were announced), or the government felt they had enough on Balco Barry and no longer needed to keep Anderson in the can. We'll soon find out which.

So, now can we officially give Hank Aaron back his title of "All-Time Home Run King?"

Don't Bet On This

Another rumor circulated yesterday that the Yankees were still interested in signing Mike Lowell, even if the deal to bring back Alex Rodriguez does indeed happen. They want Lowell to switch over to first base.

That won't happen, as Lowell is on record as having said he won't switch from third base to first. A TV station in Boston has reported that four teams have offered Lowell a four-year deal: New York, St. Louis, Atlanta and the LA Angels. The other teams want to make Lowell their regular third baseman. So now the ball is in Lowell's court. I'm sure Lowell has gone back to the Sox with these offers, and it will be up to Lowell and the Sox to come up with an agreement that satisifies Mike. If the Sox don't budge from their last offer, Lowell may indeed leave. But my gut feeling is that they will meet somewhere in the middle and he will stay in Boston.

It makes no sense at all for the Yankees to bring him on, as they already have Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Jason Giambi clogging up 1B, DH and LF. Damon's no longer a full-time CF, so he has to see most of the time in LF, and Hideki Matsui is coming off knee surgery and is a below-average LF, so he'll see more time at DH, especially when Giambi plays 1B. Lowell is an every day player, and Melky Cabrera is now the regular CF. So unless they unload one of them, which is not likely, bringing in Lowell isn't a very smart move for them.

Besides, what was the Yankees' Achilles Heel in 2007? It sure wasn't their lineup. They'd be better off concentrating on getting another starter now. Last time I looked, Mike Lowell can't pitch.

I've also hear that they may want to bring in Lowell "to keep him away from the Red Sox." That maybe the WORST reason to sign him. That worked out really well when they signed Johnny Damon, eh?

Mike Lowell will be playing third base for someone on Opening Day in 2008, that's for sure. I just hope it will be in Boston.


The news broke yesterday that Alex Rodriguez has started to talking to the Yankees about returning to the club, and that he's talked with the Steinbrenner Boys about a new ten-year deal.
What a bunch of hypocrites. On both sides.

When Rodriguez and that jackass of an agent Scott Boras tried to upstage the Red Sox World Series win by announcing the opt-out during Game 4, Hank Steinbrenner, who seems to enjoy running off at the mouth--just like Pop--basically went after Rodriguez with all kinds of vitriol. He said he didn't want anyone playing for the Yankees who didn't want to be there, and basically told him and his agent to take a hike. The Yankees had said all along during 2007 that if he opted out of his deal, there was NO WAY he'd be back in a Yankee uniform. Ever.

At least the Yankee brass was being consistent on October 28.

Now they are as big a bunch of hypocrites as Rodriguez is.

It's obvious that Boras and Rodriguez very badly judged the market for him. There was no team that was going to offer him a deal of $350 million over ten years, or anything close to it. Rodriguez took a major hit to his reputation after his ill-timed opt-out, and it was clear Boston certainly wasn't going to be a landing spot for him.

Now he's talking about coming back to New York, and he looks like a guy with his tail between his legs and his hat in his hands. He now has NO CHOICE but to go back to the Yankees. If the Yankee brass had any nerve now at all, they'd lowball him and make him a LOWER offer than this rumored $275 million deal, because honestly, where else can he go now? Both parties have a fractured relationship, especially over the rumors the Yankees don't want Boras in the negotiations over the possible deal. (Despite all the money Boras has made for him, it might be time for Rodriguez to find a new agent.)

Sounds like this deal will get done soon. You'll hear both sides make nice after its all finished. Palaver from Slappy about how his heart was always in New York and always wanted to finish his career in pinstripes, and the Steinbrenner knuckleheads rambling on about how "he's best player in baseball and a true Yankee," yada, yada, yada. Let's face it, all Rodriguez is about is getting the most money from his employer. Loyalty means nothing to him. The events of last month clearly showed that, otherwise why would he come crawling back to the Yankees and not settle for a similar deal to the one he has now with a team like the Angels or Cubs? Because of his "loyalty" to the Yankees? Hardly. They're offering the most money, and everyone knows it.

Thank God Rodriguez isn't coming to Boston.

Slappy, Boras and the Steinbrenners. They're all hypocrites, and they all deserve each other.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Defense Starts in Tokyo

It's now official. If you want to see the Red Sox opener in 2008 live and in person, you'll have to go a long way to see it.

The Red Sox will open the 2008 season, and the defense of their World Series championship (I love writing that) on March 25 and 26 at the Tokyo Dome (pictured) in Japan against the Oakland Athletics.

The A's will be the home team for both games, and it should be a huge deal there, with favorite sons Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima playing before their countrymen. (And Okie will be pitching in the stadium he called home for a decade before coming to Boston.) Both clubs will also play two exhibition games against Japanese teams there in the two days before playing each other.

After the series, both teams will get five days off before both go to Oakland to play two more games against each other there and get the regular season going in the U.S. (Although the Red Sox may play a couple of exhibition games on the West Coast before starting the regular season again. That is still to be determined.)

Here's more on the opening series in Japan:

The Red Sox also announced their 2008 schedule. After the Oakland series, they return home on April 8th to raise the championship flag and give out the World Series rings against Detroit. The first series against the Yankees takes place later that weekend. Here is the complete schedule:

Trivia Q&A: November 13

We had one of the biggest crowds ever for Trivia Night on Tuesday, as we had 19 teams participate (and that's the second largest contest ever). The numbers for Vice Presidential Trivia (where I gave the name of the Veep and you had name the President he served under) weren't too great, but two teams actually ran the table and got perfect scores on them. The numbers improved throughout the next two rounds, and we had the top five teams going into the last round separated by five points.

IQ Trivia's numbers were on the lighter side, and something happened that I had never seen before. There was a tie not only for first place, but for third and fifth place as well.

We broke the tie for first between the teams called I Want a Breast Reduction & A Second Opinion and Team Wobbly "H" by going back to the night's special category of Vice Presidential Trivia. I asked both teams to give me their best guess at "How many Vice Presidents have there been in US history?" The closest team would win. And that turned out to be I Want a Breast Reduction, who guessed 47 and were off by just one, as the right answer is 46. Congratulations to them on their victory. (They had led for the entire contest going into the last round.)

Next week we will have a special round of Thanksgiving Trivia, so we hope many of you can come out for it next Tuesday night.

Current Events
1. This legendary author, who once ran for mayor of New York City, died this past weekend at the age of 84.
2. This Southern city was chosen for the second straight year as the worst city in America for aggressive drivers and road rage by a recent study.
3. This British musician's in trouble again, as he was charged Tuesday with falsely imprisoning a man in London.
4. Rail workers and subway personnel went on strike in this European city in the first wave of public sector strikes there.
5. An explosion rocked the House of Representatives in this Asian country on Tuesday, killing one person and wounding two.
6. A major oil spill was caused last week when a container ship struck this bridge out west, and the state's governor declared a state of emergency to clean it up.
7. This celebrity, known for her alcohol problems, has been praised by conservationists for highlighting the problem of binge drinking elephants in India.
8. This hip-hop star's mother, also his agent, died on Saturday from possible complications from cosmetic surgery.
9. This UK city was chosen yesterday to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games after a vote in Sri Lanka.
10. This film, which grossed $26 million in its second week of release, was the number one film in the US last week.

Answers: 1. Norman Mailer; 2. Miami; 3. Boy George; 4. Paris; 5. The Philippines; 6. San Francisco Bay Bridge; 7. Paris Hilton; 8. Kanye West; 9. Glasgow; 10. "Bee Movie."

Vice-Presidential Trivia
1. Martin Van Buren: a. John Tyler; b. Andrew Jackson; c. James Monroe; d. John Quincy Adams.
2. Hubert Humphrey: a. Lyndon Johnson; b. Harry Truman; c. Richard Nixon; d. Dwight Eisenhower.
3. Hannibal Hamlin: a. U.S. Grant; b. Andrew Johnson; c. Rutherford B. Hayes; d. Abraham Lincoln.
4. Theodore Roosevelt: a. Grover Cleveland; b. William McKinley; c. Benjamin Harrison; d. Chester Arthur.
5. John Nance Garner: a. FDR; b. Calvin Coolidge; c. Woodrow Wilson; d. Herbert Hoover.
6. Nelson Rockefeller: a. Richard Nixon; b. Ronald Reagan; c. Dwight Eisenhower; d. Gerald Ford.
7. Aaron Burr: a. John Adams; b. James Madison; c. Thomas Jefferson; d. James Monroe.
8. Alben Barkley: a. Harry Truman; b. FDR; c. Dwight Eisenhower; d. Herbert Hoover.
9. Adlai Stevenson: a. William H. Taft; b. Harry Truman; c. Woodrow Wilson; d. Grover Cleveland.
10. Richard Nixon: a. FDR; b. Dwight Eisenhower; c. Harry Truman; d. Herbert Hoover.

Answers: 1. b; 2. a; 3. d; 4. b; 5. a; 6. d; 7. c; 8. a; 9. d; 10. b.

True or False ("The Q Train")

1. A dinosaur that was discovered a few years ago was actually named after Dire Straits lead singer Mark Knopfler.
2. The flower daffodil is a type of narcissus.
3. The painter Fredric Remington was best known for his sculpting and painting of New York aristocrats.
4. The U.S. Marshals conducted the first U.S. census in 1790.
5. Sepia-toned photographs are brown colored.
6. The Erie Canal is located in Ohio.
7. The term "vox populi" literally means "voice of the people."
8. Quinine can be found in the beverage tonic water.
9. The Santa Ana winds are usually found in Arizona.
10. On the TV series, "Dharma and Greg," the two main characters married after their first date.

Answers: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, the American West; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, it is in New York; 7. true; 8. true; 9. false, it is in California; 10. true.

General Knowledge

1. What president declared the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Olympics?
2. Tom Wolfe's 1979 book, "The Right Stuff" is about what?
3. In 1983, what Caribbean nation was invaded by U.S. troops?
4. On the TV series, "The West Wing," what is the last name of the President of the United States?
5. In which state is the Pentagon located?
6. Within 10 million, approximately how many years have dinosaurs been extinct?
7. The nutritional philosophy of the Atkins Diet suggests restricting what?
8. Members of which filmmaking family wrote, directed and appeared in the 2000 film, "Scary Movie?"
9. In the film, "Chicken Run," which actor provided the voice of the rooster called Rocky?
10. In a professional rodeo competition, how many seconds must a rider stay on a "bucking bronco?"

Answers: 1. Jimmy Carter; 2. manned space missions; 3. Grenada; 4. Bartlett; 5. Virginia; 6. 65 million; 7. carbohydrates; 8. Wayans; 9. Mel Gibson; 10. eight.

IQ Trivia
1. Which of the original thirteen colonies was founded by James Oglethorpe as a haven for English debtors? (5 points)
2. During World War II, what general was widely known by the nickname, "The Desert Fox?" (4 points)
3. What kind of powder is inside an Etch A Sketch drawing toy? (6 points)
4. The James Randi Educational Foundation offers $1 million to anyone who can provide solid evidence of what? (5 points)
5. Most of the world's supply of cork comes from which type of tree? ( 5 points)

Answers: 1. Georgia; 2. Erwin Rommel; 3. aluminum; 4. paranormal powers; 5. oak.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sabathia Wins Cy Young Over Beckett

C.C. Sabathia beat out Josh Beckett to win the 2007 AL Cy Young Award today. They had very similar years, but I thought the vote total would be even closer than it was. Sabathia got 19 first place votes, while Beckett got 8. John Lackey finished third and Fausto Carmona finished fourth.

Here's the vote tally:

                                 1st 2nd 3rdPoints
C.C. Sabathia Cleveland Indians 19 8 — 119
Josh Beckett Boston Red Sox 8 14 4 86
John Lackey Los Angeles Angels 1 5 16 36
Fausto Carmona Cleveland Indians — 1 4 7
Eric Bedard Baltimore Orioles — — 1 1
Roy Halladay Toronto Blue Jays — — 1 1
Johan Santana Minnesota Twins — — 1 1
Justin Verlander Detroit Tigers — — 1 1
Did you notice how many votes Chien-Ming Wang got? None. Not one. Zilch.

So now can we stop mentioning him with Beckett as some kind of "ace" pitcher?

And I was very surprised to see that Beckett was left off two ballots, and Sabathia was left off one. Do these idiots who did this not actually watch baseball for a living?

Pedroia the Destroyer

Found this video snippet from The Joy of Sox blog, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Dustin Pedroia reacting after making a great play at second. Hell yeah!!

From the first time I saw this guy in September 2006, I knew he was something special.

Bad News For Peterson

Adrian Peterson will be out for possibly 2-4 weeks after it was determined that he has a partial tear of the LCL in his knee. He will not need surgery, but it will definitely miss Sunday's game against Oakland. It's bad news, but it sure could have been a lot worse, as was once feared.

Chester Taylor will move back into the starting role for the Vikings he lost when Peterson exploded after Taylor went down during Week 1.

Here's more about Peterson's injury from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Lowell's Free

Last night's midnight deadline came and went with no agreement reached between Mike Lowell and the Red Sox.

That could be a positive or a negative regarding a possible Lowell return. Both sides made it clear that the door has not been closed as far as Lowell resigning in Boston. The sticking point seems to be a fourth year, which the Red Sox seem to be reluctant to give. Lowell will be 37 at the end of a possible four year deal. (Compare this to what the Yankees just gave Jorge Posada. He will be 37 next season, and he just got a four-year deal with them. Giving a catcher a long term deal after the age of 35 is very risky, even if he just came off a great offensive year.)

Lowell and his agents want to see what's out there. There is a sure to be a team that will offer him four years, and the Phillies, Yankees and Angels come to mind.

But if a team makes Lowell "an offer he can't refuse," I'm sure he'll go back to the Sox and report the offer and see what they could do about trying to match it. I'm sure he won't do what Johnny Damon and that slimebag agent Scott Boras did, namely take another team's offer and not even have the decency to go back to their old club and try to see if they could match it. Lowell has far more class than that.

Lowell wants to stay in Boston, and I'm sure that's his first option. Seeing what's out there is a smart move on his part. This will undoubtedly be his last big contract, and he'll try to get whatever he can. Being World Series MVP sent his price up, but I think Lowell wants to stay. I don't really see the Yankees as being a team he'd sign with. Left-center in that park would drop his numbers drastically compared to Fenway, and I'm sure Lowell took note of the reactions Damon got on his return trips to Boston.

Red Sox management has been smart when it came to letting popular free agents walk away. (Damon, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe all worked out well for the Red Sox in the final end.) They haven't let sentimentality get in the way of doing the right thing for the team. I really want Lowell to stay, as I value his defense, clutch hitting and overall professionalism. I hope some kind of agreement that would satisfy both sides can be hammered out.

We'll soon find out.

Know Your Vice Presidents

The special category for Trivia Night on Tuesday night will be Vice Presidents Trivia. I will give you the name of a US Vice President, and you will tell me the President he served under. Don't fear the category, as it will also be multiple choice.

We will also have the regular four categories as well, and we'll get going at the usual time of 9 PM. This week's Sneak Peek question is:

"In 1983, what Caribbean nation was invaded by U.S. troops?"

I hope many of you can come out for Trivia Night on Tuesday.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Way to Go, Dusty

Dustin Pedroia was indeed voted the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year today, and it wasn't at all close. Here is the official vote:

2007 AL Rookie of the Year Voting
Player, Club 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Dustin Pedroia, BOS 24 4
Delmon Young, TB 3 12 5 56
Brian Bannister, KC 1 8 7 36
Daisuke Matsuzaka, BOS
2 6 12
Reggie Willits, LAA
2 5 11
Hideki Okajima, BOS

3 3
Josh Fields, CWS

1 1
Joakim Soria, KC

1 1

Dustin becomes the sixth Red Sox player to win the Rookie of the Year Award. Past winners were: Nomar Garciaparra (1997), Fred Lynn (1975), Carlton Fisk (1972), Don Schwall (1961) and Walt Dropo (1950).

Ryan Braun won the NL Rookie of the Year today, and beat out Troy Tulowitzki by a slim two points. He was brought up on May 25 and hit an amazing 34 home runs. Well done.

As for Pedroia, not bad for a guy who was hitting .180 on May 1, and played the final two months with a broken hamate bone. Congratulations, Dustin. You earned it.

Peterson Hurt as Vikings Lose

It was an absolutely awful day for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, as they were simply dominated all day by their archrival Green Bay Packers. It was no contest as the Packers rolled to an easy 34-0 victory at Lambeau Field.

But that's not what concerns Vikings fans today. Late in the contest yesterday, Adrian Peterson left the game with an apparent knee injury, as he was hit by the Packers' Al Harris after making an 11-yard catch. It did not appear to be too severe, as he left the field under his own power. He will have an MRI done today in Minnesota. Hopefully it is nothing worse than a sprain.

The game was broadcast live here in New York yesterday, so I watched most of it. (Fox left the game when Green Bay went up 27-0 for the game in Washington.) The Vikings run defense, the best in the league, was torn to shreds by little-known, former Notre Dame RB Ryan Grant, who became the first back to rush for over 100 yards against the Vikings this season. Brett Favre threw 3 TDS and passed for 351 yards.

The Vikings offense was practically non-existent. Both Tavaris Jackson and Kelly Holmcomb were out injured, so Brooks Bollinger got the start. The entire offense seemed to be running the ball and throwing to the backs, as Bollinger didn't even attempt a pass to a wide receiver for the first three quarters. The Vikings just won't win with any of these guys at QB, and the number one priority this off-season should be getting a quality veteran QB. (Chad Pennington?)

Brad Childress' offense looks very unimaginative, and the defense looked really sluggish yesterday. It looks like the Vikes are about to quit on this season, as they are 3-6 and falling fast. You have to wonder if another 10-loss season might mean the end of Childress' tenure as head coach.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Minnesota Vikings. They're making this a football season to forget.

Remember the Veterans

Please say a prayer today for those courageous men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day: our military around the world, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yesterday was Veterans Day, but today is the observed day.

Veterans Day was first observed on November 11, as it was the day World War I ended in 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Remember especially those vets who've returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan who've had a difficult time readjusting to life back home. Many have had their lives shattered forever because of war. May God bless them.

Time to Hand Out the Awards

It's that time of the year again when Major League Baseball hands out its annual awards. On Monday, the first two awards will be announced, and that is the AL and NL Rookie of the Year awards.
Here are my choices for the awards and the days they will be announced:

Nov. 12: AL Rookie of the Year: Dustin Pedroia
NL Rookie of the Year: Ryan Braun
Nov. 13: AL Cy Young: Josh Beckett
Nov. 14: AL Manager of the Year: Eric Wedge
NL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin
Nov. 15: NL Cy Young: Jake Peavy
Nov. 19: AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez
Nov. 20: NL MVP: Matt Holliday

Some of them are slam dunks, but others are close races. It should be interesting to see who comes away with the hardware.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another Historic Embarrassment

It was another historic day for the University of Notre Dame yesterday, and as this season has gone, another truly awful one.

They were beaten by Air Force on Saturday, 41-24 at Notre Dame Stadium, and now for the first time in their glorious history, the Fighting Irish have lost nine games in a season. They are still winless at home, and their final two games of the year are against two very weak teams: Duke at home, and Stanford on the road.

And I honestly wonder if they can win either one.

More history. The back-to-back losses to Navy and Air Force means that ND has lost to two service academies for the first time in a season since 1944. Yep, since World War II.

No sense rehashing the Air Force loss. The Falcons are a good team, and it was their eighth win of the year. But Notre Dame looks so pitifully bad on offense that they are just about unwatchable now. And if they lose one of the last two games, they will have double-digit losses for the first time ever.

The announcers yesterday tried to look positive about ND's future, as they said next year's incoming class of players could be one of the best in the nation. Heck, it's got to be better than this.

It couldn't be any worse.

I Don't Like Spam!

I'm sure many of you out there have a similar problem that I have. You get those stupid scam emails from "Africa" that are entitled "Beloved Friend," "Yours in Christ," and "Urgent Attention" are from "people" named John Alison or Daniel Vincent, or some woman called "Sister." (I doubt she's really a nun.) They give you some kind of sob story about how their father or husband was murdered by some repressive regime and they have money stored away in some bank and if you help them by sending them some of your own hard-earned cash you can make far more with them.

Do people out there REALLY fall for this crap?

I also get those "phishing" emails about how my account is on hold and it could be deleted if I don't send in my details right away to clear it up. The ones that are really funny are from those companies I've never been associated with. Basically all they are trying to get is your social security number or credit card numbers by having you click a specific link.

Once again, are there people out there REALLY falling for this crap?

I also win the lottery every day, too! About three times a day I get that email that I've won some Euro, British, Irish or some Dutch lottery, and all I have to do is send them some personal details to claim my prize. I once looked at all the addresses that were sent in the email, and there were a few hundred that were all in alphabetical order beginning with the letter "j" (as my email address begins with that letter too). Boy, what a coincidence.

But recently, I've noticed that the number of spam crap I've been getting has gone up. I also noticed in my Site Meter, which I check every day to see where people are reading my blog from, that I've been getting a few readers from African countries like Nigeria and Ivory Coast, and their search words to find my blog always have a "" in them. I guess these are the scammers, and they really are from Africa.

Fortunately, I have a junk mail folder in my hotmail account, and that spam goes right into it. So for those who continue to send me such garbage, forget it. A couple of clicks and it's gone.

The only spam I've ever liked came from Monty Python (pictured above, and one of their funniest sketches). So stop wasting your time.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

World Series DVD Coming Out November 27

The Official 2007 MLB World Series Film will be released on November 27. I'm sure like the 2004 DVD (pictured), it will fly off the shelves.

This time it will be narrated by noted Red Sox fan Matt Damon. Last time it was done by Denis Leary, who I thought did a nice job with it.

I would take a wild guess that I won't be in this DVD, as I was in the 2004 film, as the Red Sox were about to win the World Series. A group of friends of mine and myself were shown celebrating as the win took place. I don't remember seeing any MLB camera crews in Professor Thom's during the postseason, but who knows...

Here's more info about it, courtesy of

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thom's: 10/29/07 at 12:05 AM

Here's another YouTube clip for Sox fans to enjoy. It was taken at Professor Thom's at the moment the Red Sox won the World Series back on October 29. It was taken by Donovanpk, and was put up on his site, "Behind Enemy Lines" a few days ago. (His site is at:

You can't see very much, as the bar was rather dark, but the passion and the noise that came from winning the World Series more than makes up for it. I was just a few feet over to the left from where this footage was shot, but you can't see any faces clearly, so don't look for me.

My thanks to Donovanpk for alerting me to the clip. It lasts for about three minutes. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sarge and Wake

I found this on YouTube tonight, and many of you Red Sox fans hopefully saw this live, like I did at Professor Thom's. Right after the Red Sox won the World Series last week, Don Orsillo was interviewing Tim Wakefield about what it was like to win the Series a second time, when Mike Timlin walked over and talked into the camera about what a great teammate and a first-class individual Wake is.

It was an incredible moment, one of my favorites in any postseason. Wake was on the verge of bursting into tears, and I wasn't the only one at Thom's who got a little choked up at what Sarge said.

Mike Timlin and Tim Wakefield maybe two of the Red Sox' "grand old men," but they are also two of the classier players in MLB.

My thanks to Cynsspot for posting this at YouTube.

More Victory Photos

Here are some more Red Sox victory photos from Professor Thom's pub. They include one of me hosting a Red Sox World Series Trivia contest before the fourth game, hanging with my buddies after the championship was won, enjoying an adult beverage (yes, I do drink!) after the ALDS win, and with my pal Gareth, the biggest Welsh Red Sox fan I've ever known, after the Game 4 win.

Thanks to my friend Kim, who took all the photos. Great memories.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Trivia Q&A: November 6

We had a great turnout for Trivia on Tuesday night, as 15 teams took part. We had some very good scores on the TV Shows/Cities Trivia, as well as the True or False and General Knowledge rounds. We had three teams separated by two points going into the IQ Trivia round.

The scores in that round were generally pretty good, as two teams got four correct, and 20 points. Slut Bases was leading going into that round, and the 20 points gave them a six-point victory. Congratulations to them, as they have won the Trivia Night contest before.

Current Events
1. The president of this country suspended the nation's constitution and declared a state of emergency last week, sending it into chaos.
2. Harper Lee, author of the classic "To Kill a Mockingbird," was awarded this yesterday, the nation's highest civilian award at the White House.
3. This Eastern state was named "the healthiest state in the nation" by America's Health Rankings for 2006.
4. King Abdullah of this Middle East country visited the Vatican yesterday in which was the first audience by the head of his country with the Pope.
5. This automaker announced plans for cutting over 12,000 jobs worldwide as part of a major restructuring plan by the company.
6. A long-anticipated reunion of this band, scheduled for later this month in London, has been pushed back to next month because the band's guitarist broke a finger.
7. This one-time morning talk show host is now rumored to be coming back, this time with a possible night time talk show on MSNBC.
8. Oil prices jumped to a new record price per barrel today, after bomb attacks in Yemen and Afghanistan.
9. A "mini-tsunami," caused by a landslide hitting a river, left dozens dead or missing in the state of Tabasco in this nation.
10. This 21-year-old actor was arrested Saturday in a Walgreen's in Chicago after being asked to leave the store by a security guard who thought he was drunk and he refused.

Answers: 1. Pakistan; 2. Presidential Medal of Freedom; 3. Vermont; 4. Saudi Arabia; 5. Chrysler; 6. Led Zeppelin; 7. Rosie O'Donnell; 8. $97; 9. Mexico; 10. Shia LeBeouf.

TV Shows/Cities Trivia
1. "Murphy Brown"
2. "Mork and Mindy"
3. "Frasier"
4. "Happy Days"
5. "Married With Children"
6. "Friends"
7. "Mary Tyler Moore Show"
8. "Thirtysomething"
9. "Dharma and Greg"
10."The Practice"

Answers: 1. Washington DC; 2. Denver/Boulder; 3. Seattle; 4. Milwaukee; 5. Chicago; 6. New York City; 7. Minneapolis; 8. Philadelphia; 9. San Francisco; 10. Boston.

True or False ("The Q Train")
1. Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" was actually painted on wood.
2. The band Eurythmics was named for a method of teaching music using body movement.
3. Tapioca is a food that is made with soybeans.
4. The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition was founded by Martin Luther King.
5. Pink Floyd's first album cover featured an illustration of a banana created by Andy Warhol.
6. The Mediterranean Sea borders three continents.
7. In the opera "The Marriage of Figaro," Figaro married the servant.
8. "Bodice rippers" are another name for legal thrillers.
9. Alaska is the US state with the largest area of tundra.
10. In the 2001 movie, "Hannibal," Hannibal Lecter works a museum curator in Europe.

Answers: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, it is not; 4. false, it was founded by Jesse Jackson; 5. false, Velvet Underground; 6. true; 7. true; 8. false, they are romance novels; 9. true; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. What dishwashing liquid's longtime ad campaign featured Madge the manicurist?
2. What waterway was released from US control on December 31, 1999?
3. Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky sold her own line of what fashion accessory?
4. By geographical area, what is the smallest nation in the world?
5. Launched in 1996, what cable TV show featured music videos and superimposed bubbles with informative text?
6. How many US states border Mexico?
7. What action movie series follows the adventures of NY detective John McClane?
8. An atom that has either lost or gained one or more electrons is referred to as what?
9. Which Marx brother was characteristically silent in his movies?
10. The Latin word for "feather" is the source of what writing instrument's name?

Answers: 1. Palmolive; 2. Panama Canal; 3. handbags; 4. Vatican City; 5. "Pop-Up Video;" 6. four; 7. "Die Hard;" 8. ion; 9. Harpo; 10. pen.

IQ Trivia
1. The 18th, 19th and 20th US presidents all hailed from which state? (5 points)
2. Members of which US industry formed a secret society of workers called "The Molly Maguires?" (4 points)
3. Who did President Lincoln first ask to be field commander of the Union forces at the outset of the Civil War? (5 points)
4. In the classic 1954 film, "Them!", what creatures terrorize towns in the US Southwest? (6 points)
5. In a standard deck of playing cards, the "one-eyed jacks" are in which two suits? (5 points)

Answers: 1. Ohio; 2. coal miners; 3. Robert E. Lee; 4. giant ants; 5. hearts and spades.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Schilling Re-signs With the Red Sox

Curt Schilling and the Red Sox agreed to a one-year contract today that will keep Schilling with the Red Sox for what he says will be his final year of his career. It is an $8 million deal, with $2 million in incentives.

This appears to be a mutually beneficial deal for both sides. Schilling backed away from that $13 million he wanted, and the Red Sox signed him quickly, before the 15-day window that they had exclusive rights on him expired.

No word on Mike Lowell. He has not yet filed for free agency, and still has one week to do so. The fact that he hasn't filed yet maybe a good sign, that he will agree on a new deal before the Sox' rights on him passes. Time will tell.

Monday, November 05, 2007

TV Shows/Cities Trivia

Tuesday night's Trivia contest will include a special category of TV Shows/Cities Trivia. I will give you the name of a classic TV show, and you will tell me which major American city the show was set in. I will also have the usual four categories as well, and we will get underway shortly after 9 PM.

The Sneak Peek question for Tuesday is:

The Latin word for "feather" is the source of what writing instrument's name?

Hope to see many of you Tuesday night.

Peterson Runs Wild: 296 Yards

It was an historic afternoon at the Metrodome yesterday as Adrian Peterson broke Jamal Lewis' record for rushing yards in a game as the Vikings (3-5) beat the San Diego Chargers, 35-17.

The focus of Sunday's football was the Patriots-Colts matchup in Indianapolis, but Peterson was the big story as he rushed for three touchdowns and an amazing 296 yards. The game was a showcase for two of the NFL's best running backs, Peterson and LaDainian Tomlinson.

But the Vikings number one-rated defense against the run shut Tomlinson down, as he had just 40 yards on 16 rushes. But Peterson's heroics wasn't the only history made. The game was tied at 7 as the half approached, and Ryan Longwell tried a 58-yard field goal that fell just short. The Chargers' Antonio Cromartie made a spectacular grab of the ball and caught it right at the back end line and brought it back 109 yards for a touchdown. It was not just the longest return of a missed field goal in NFL history, but the longest play in the history of the game.

But Peterson took off in the second half, and scored touchdowns on runs of 64 and 46 yards. The Vikings also lost Tarvaris Jackson in the second quarter due to a concussion and was replaced by Brooks Bollinger. But the game was The Adrian Peterson Show, as he broke Lewis' record of 295 yards on his last carry of the game, a three-yard run with just under 60 seconds to play. He also became the first running back in NFL history to have two 200-yard rushing games in the same season.

Peterson became the first back to rush for over 1,000 yards in 2007, and is now on pace to not only break Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record, but Dickerson's all-time record of 2,105 yards. And he's done all of this in just his first eight NFL games.

I wonder what those six teams who passed on Peterson in last April's draft are thinking now.