Saturday, January 30, 2010

Music & Pigskin Trivia For a Sunday Night

We will be having a special night of Trivia this Sunday night, as Professor Thom's will be busy with the "Lost" premiere on Tuesday night, and they evicted us for the evening. And we will get going at an early time, one hour earlier at 8 PM. And please do remember that this will only be for this Sunday night only, and that we will return to our regular day and time of Tuesday at 9 PM on February 9th.

The Special Category for Sunday night will be "Music Trivia" in honor of the Grammy Awards that will be held that night. And the Q Train lightning round will feature "Super Bowl True or False Trivia," as the Super Bowl will be held on February 7th, and our next Trivia Night won't be held until after it is over. I will give you ten facts about the NFL's championship game and you will have to tell me whether they are true or false.

Please also keep in mind that Professor Thom's has "Reverse Happy Hour," starting at 10 PM, with prices on drinks at Happy Hour prices from that time until closing. Cheaper booze, shouldn't that be a further incentive to come out on Sunday night?

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What sport is Abner Doubleday credited with inventing in 1839?

Many of the regulars who were in last Tuesday night told me they will be in this Sunday night, so hopefully we will have a good crowd in for our special night. And I appreciate all of you who will adjust your schedules and will be in. Thanks so much and I'll see you tomorrow night.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's Always a Work In Progress

A friend of mine sent this to me today, a not-so-glowing review of my Trivia Night, by some guy named Matt T. from

If you're mainly interested in going for the trivia though, you might want to think again. Compared to most other trivia nights held in the city, the pace is slow, and the questions don't cover nearly as wide a range of topics as other "general knowledge" games.

As the previous reviewer pointed out, the regulars are suspiciously good, even when considering that the answers are a bit predictable (two this week were repeats from last week). When these regulars get the host's expected "right" answer, even when it is wrong, that's pretty fishy; not to mention that this was a question about the weekly theme, so it's unlikely that they had just heard it before...

On one hand it's great that Professor Thom's is willing to reward loyal customers, but it sure is a shame that they have to do it by alienating potential new ones.

Where do I begin with how far off base this is? First off, I DO NOT REPEAT QUESTIONS. I am careful about the questions I ask and that I have not asked them before, especially in the recent past. If you don't believe me, I post the Q&A here every Wednesday morning, so go back and check the most recent weeks you were here and see if that really is true. You'll find it isn't.

The questions "don't cover nearly as wide a range of topics as other "general knowledge" games?" So, what subjects I am ignoring exactly? My questions cover a broad spectrum of topics, from current events, sports, history, geography, movies, music, medicine, awards, politics and literature, to name just a few. I don't get that criticism at all. Or that "the answers are a bit predictable." I try to mix hard and easy questions to my Trivia Night. I don't want it to turn into "Jeopardy" or an idiot test. I do my best to make it a good balance. Doesn't sound like this "Matt T." has been at many of my Trivia Nights at all.

And this guy takes a blast at my regular players, calling them "suspiciously good." That really offends me, and those who enjoy my Trivia Night and come out every week. He's almost implying that somehow I favor them, or maybe I "want" them to win. Let me assure you sir, that the regulars don't win every week. We've had folks who've been here the very first time and won. Many of my regulars enjoy trivia as much as I do, and maybe they have some smarts, did you ever think of that?

Don't ask me about how I am "alienating potential new customers." Granted we have people who come out on an irregular basis, and I'm sure we may have had folks who only did it once and it may not have been their cup of tea. That's fine. I try to bring good humor to the night, especially when teams give themselves risque names or like to poke fun at me with them. I actually enjoy that, and you have to have a thick skin when running a trivia contest. But it's all for fun, and that is what everyone should remember.

Now, about the pace. I have been criticized about that on occasion, and it has been something I have been working on. Running a Trivia Night, you have to give the folks time to answer questions (although we have the Q Train lightning round and that is the rapid fire round). I give the players a bit of extra time in the IQ Trivia round because those are the harder questions for more points. In this entire review, that was the only thing I found even a valid criticism.

Listen, I'm a big boy and I can take constructive criticism. I get the occasional email from someone who has been to my Trivia Night with ideas on how to improve it, and I welcome any and all suggestions at: Tuesday Night Trivia is always a work in progress, and we are always looking for ways to make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

So, "Matt T.", if you want to reach me with any valid ways to improve my Trivia Night, you know where to find me, sir.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Wonder If He'll Grow The Beard Back?

The Yankees signed veteran outfielder Randy Winn to a one-year contract today, so they have now settled on their outfield situation for 2010. This means that Johnny Damon is now 99.99% certain to be on a new team for 2010.

It now leaves the question I have always posed: once Damon gets rid of the pinstripes, will Red Sox Nation forgive him for this four-year transgression?

My feeling has always been that they will. There's a huge difference between him and that other punching bag of the Nation, Roger Clemens. Damon was always a likeable sort, a bit goofy as well. But he also was part of a World Series championship club, and as time goes on I believe most fans will realize that and welcome him back to their good graces. The way he left Boston was acrimonious and underhanded, but I think time will heal those wounds.

Clemens on the other hand will forever be ostracized by the Sox fans. His exit was classless and he never acknowledged the fans in his 1996 departure. He always came off as self-absorbed and rude, and his ripping the Red Sox fans after the 2004 World Series seemed to seal his fate in concrete. And the events of the last two years haven't helped his case any either.

I don't ever see a day when he will back in the good graces of Boston. Not ever, not even when he dies.

It will be interesting to see if Damon signs with an AL team this winter what the reaction will be on his return to Fenway Park. I bet it won't be anything like his return in those pinstripes back in May 2006.

Red Sox Spring Games on NESN

The Red Sox announced their Spring Training TV schedule on Tuesday. The first game on NESN will be March 3rd at 6 PM, as the Red Sox take on Boston College at Ft. Myers. The first MLB game they play will be the following Sunday, March 7th, against the Orioles.

Nine of the thirty-five Spring Training games will be broadcast on NESN, including the St. Patrick's Day game against the Mets at Ft. Myers.

Jeremy Hermida and the Red Sox reached an agreement on a one-year deal for $3.3 million. He was the last Red Sox player eligible for arbitration. Theo Epstein's perfect record of having no arbitration cases remains intact for yet another year.

Trivia Q&A: January 26

We had a big crowd in for Trivia Night on Tuesday, with 18 teams taking part. It was good to see my old friends from Table One back again last night, as they have been devoted regulars, but had been missing for over three months due to various reasons. Welcome back to Tara and the whole gang!

The numbers on the night were very good, and we had perfect scores in all the rounds except in the first two. I actually made a slight mistake in the True or False round on the one about Harvard University, as I should have said "Cambridge College" and not "University" so I tossed out the question and gave everyone a point.

We had a close match going into IQ Trivia, with the top two teams separated by one point, but the team in the lead, Suck It Trebek, got a perfect score in that round (as they also did in the previosu two rounds) to capture the title by seven points. Nice job by Matt and his team on their victory.

BTW, a weird coincidence tonight. Question #4 in IQ Trivia was about the queen of the fairies in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and in the online Jeopardy test which I took about an hour before the Trivia Night, one of the questions asked who the king of the fairies in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was. Too funny.

A reminder: Trivia Night will be occurring this Sunday night at 8 PM, January 31st, and will be back on Tuesday nights on February 9th at 9 PM. The "Lost" premiere will be occupying Professor Thom's next Tuesday night.

Current Events
1. This auto manufacturer announced a recall of over 24,000 vehicles due to a potential defect in a brake system that could result in a sudden break failure.
2. This actor/comedian was arrested last weekend in California on sexual abuse charges, that he groped two men in a club.
3. This airline filed for bankruptcy protection last week after they lost nearly $1 billion in the final quarter of 2009.
4. Kraft Foods announced last week that they have completed a takeover of this British confectionary company for nearly $19 billion.
5. A new basketball league founded by the All-American Basketball Alliance is trying to get started. What unusual feature will the league be based on?
6. This violent and darkly comic film won the award for Best Film at the SAG Awards last Saturday night.
7. This country's government took down six cable channels off the air that refused to air their leader's speech to his political supporters last Saturday night.

Answers: 1. Chrysler; 2. Andy Dick; 3. Japan Airlines; 4. Cadbury; 5. Only white guys can play; 6. "Inglourious Basterds;" 7. Venezuela.

Australia Trivia
1. What city is the capital of Australia?
2. What nation of the world is the most similar to Australia in terms of land area?
3. Between Nicole Kidman, Heath Ledger and Hugh Jackman, which one was not born in Australia?
4. What is Australia's largest city in population?
5. What Australian-born singer has sold the most records than other artist from that country?
6. What is Australia's most popular team sport in terms of attendance?
7. What explorer claimed Australia for England in 1770?

Answers: 1. Canberra; 2. United States; 3. Nicole Kidman; 4. Sydney; 5. Kylie Minogue (over 60 million); 6. Aussie Rules Football; 7. Captain James Cook.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Harvard University's original name was Cambridge University (actually College).
2. Dwight D. Eisenhower had a putting green installed on the White House lawn.
3. England was the first country to use paper money.
4. Benjamin Franklin was born in Philadelphia.
5. The Pulitzer Prize is awarded in the fields of journalism and literature.
6. Woodrow Wilson was the first American awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
7. The country of Ceylon is today known as Sri Lanka.
8. Becky Sharp is the main character in the novel Little Women.
9. Al Capone died of syphilis.
10. Ivan Pavlov is credited with having trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell.

Answers: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, China; 4. false, Boston; 5. true; 6. false, Theodore Roosevelt; 7. true; 8. false, Vanity Fair; 9. true; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. What author released the novel, "2010: Odyssey Two" in 1982? (1 pt)
2. What Hollywood star's real name is Carlos Estevez? ( 1 pt)
3. In what part of the body would you find the cornea? ( 1 pt)
4. The capital of Liberia is named for what US president? ( 2 pt)
5. Abu Dhabi is the capital of what country? ( 2 pt)
6. Cajuns are the descendants of an ethnic group exiled to Louisiana from what present-day country? ( 2 pt)
7. Which of the contiguous 48 U.S. states has the smallest population? ( 3 pt)

Answers: 1. Arthur C. Clarke; 2. Charlie Sheen; 3. eye; 4. James Monroe; 5. United Arab Emirates; 6. Canada; 7. Wyoming.

IQ Trivia
1. What was the first state to secede from the United States in 1860? ( 3 points)
2. The 1971 film "Duel" was the directorial debut of what Oscar-winning director? ( 4 points)
3. A "prune picker" is a term for a native of what US state? ( 4 points)
4. In Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night's Dream," what is the name of the queen of the fairies? ( 5 points)
5. What 19th century author created the fictional detective Auguste Dupin? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. South Carolina; 2. Steven Spielberg; 3. California; 4. Titania; 5. Edgar Allan Poe.

Monday, January 25, 2010

He'll Be Back

Brett Favre told ESPN's Ed Werder after the game on Sunday that his return to the Vikings for the 2010 season was "highly unlikely." Favre said he would talk to his family this week and make his decision shortly.

Favre's a warrior, and I appreciate the way he went out there despite all the hits he took, clean or not, by the Saints. But he is a football player, and he's got one more year left on the contract he signed with the Vikings.

He'll be back for one more year. Count on it.

I'm sure we'll be hearing from Favre what this guy once said so famously:

There Will Be No Questions About Kangaroos

This Tuesday marks Australia Day, when the folks Down Under celebrate their national holiday, marking the day when the First Fleet first arrived in Sydney in 1788. And to help them celebrate, we will be having as our Special Category: "Australia Trivia," seven questions about that beautiful country.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
In what part of the body would you find the cornea?

We will get rolling right around 9 PM on Tuesday. I also want to remind you that we will be having a special Sunday night edition of Trivia Night this coming Sunday, January 31st, at a special time of 8 PM. We won't be having it next Tuesday, due to the "Lost" premiere, which will be filling Professor Thom's. Trivia Night will of course be back on Tuesdays beginning February 9th at 9 PM.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

See What Happens When You Get Too Cute?

A dumb, stupid, cutesy-pie 12th-man-in-the-huddle penalty with 19 seconds left ended up costing the Minnesota Vikings their Super Bowl shot. They tried to screw around with the New Orleans defense and they got caught. It forced Brett Favre to throw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted and on came overtime.

I knew the Vikings were dead at that point. We watched them commit suicide in the Superdome.

They destroyed themselves on Sunday in New Orleans. They outplayed the Saints on offense, but committed six fumbles, lost three of them, and Brett Favre was picked off twice.

Another Vikings season ends badly. Another overtime loss in the NFC championship game. It feels like 1998 all over again. And as Garrett Hartley's game-winning field goal was splitting the uprights, I couldn't help but think of a certain night in October 2003 when some guy (whose name escapes me) hit an 11th inning home run off Tim Wakefield to win the AL pennant.

Well, that wraps up another football season.

24 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Win It For...

In October 2004, the good folks over at the Sons of Sam Horn message board started a thread called "Win It For," as the Red Sox were closing in on the first World Series championship in 86 years. Fans named everyone from former Red Sox players to their dead grandfathers as to who they'd like to see the Red Sox win that championship for. It even spawned a successful book.

Well, in that vein, I have my own list of "Win It For" that I'd like to see the Minnesota Vikings get in their first Super Bowl since January 1977 get there for.

Win It For:
Fran Tarkenton. Joe Kapp. Bill Brown. Chuck Foreman. Alan Page. Carl Eller. Jim Marshall (who belongs in the Hall of Fame). Gary Larsen. Ron Yary. Mick Tingelhoff. Paul Krause. Karl Kassulke. John Gilliam. Bobby Bryant. Nate Wright. Jeff Wright. Fred Cox. Wally Hilgenberg. Jeff Siemon. Tommy Kramer. Joe Senser. Matt Blair. Jake Reed. Anthony Carter. Darren Nelson. Cris Carter. Robert Smith. Gary Anderson. Randall McDaniel. Daunte Culpepper. John Randle. Robert Griffith. And for every player who wore those Vikings colors proudly.

Win It For:
Every member of the Purple People Eaters who went to a Super Bowl and came home without a ring. Every member of the 1969, 1973, 1974 and 1976 teams who likewise came away with nothing. And for every member of the 1998 team who went 15-1 and never got to play in the ultimate game to show how great they were.

Win It For:
Norm Van Brocklin. Jere Burns. Dennis Green. And especially for Bud Grant.

Win It For:
The Twin Cities. Mary Tyler Moore. Prince. Every Vikings fan who suffered those mediocre teams of the last three decades, and the ones who just missed winning it all, and who longs to see their beloved boys in purple and gold win a Super Bowl before they die.

Win it for all of us. The time is now.

Just win it. Get us to Miami.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Not Exactly What I'd Call a Fight Song

Prince, a noted Minnesotan and Vikings fan, has recorded a song called "Purple and Gold", dedicated to the Minnesota Vikings and their quest for a Super Bowl title.

Well, you decide. Here it is:

With thanks to my friend Eddie for bringing this to my attention.


On January 23, 1960, John Richard Quinn married Margaret Ellen Reilly at St. Michael's Church in Brooklyn. I write this because they are my Mom and Dad and it is their 50th anniversary today.

I am truly blessed to have the best parents you could possibly imagine. And I appreciate that fact so much more as time goes on. They will be celebrating it together today in Florida.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you both very much.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Let's Invite This Guy To Professor Thom's

My pals at Surviving Grady posted this ESPN commercial about the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry on their blog on Thursday, and I thought I would too.

Especially since I'm a Brooklyn-born Red Sox fan whose gotten more compliments than mindless crap from nitwit Yankee fans when I wear my Sox hat or shirt in New York.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Lost" Moves Trivia Night to January 31

Attention all Tuesday Night Trivia players:
Due to circumstances beyond our control (namely the "Lost" season debut), we will not be having Trivia Night on Tuesday night, February 2nd. However, we will be having Trivia on a special night that week, namely, Sunday, January 31st, and at a special time too, 8 PM. And remember that Sunday night is "Reverse Happy Hour" with the drinks at Happy Hour prices the entire evening. Cheaper booze, shouldn't that be an incentive to come out that night? (There will also be The Pro Bowl game on that night, for you NFL All-Star fans.)

And do remember we will have our usual night of Trivia this Tuesday, January 26th at 9 PM. And we will return back to trivia on Tuesday nights on February 9th at 9 PM.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Trivia Q&A: January 19

We had a terrific crowd in for Trivia Night on Tuesday, as 19 teams took part. Many of the folks had their eye on the Massachusetts Senate race returns, which started coming in about an hour before we got going.

The scores were about average for Current Events, as some of the questions were on the difficult side. "Q Up", the new category will be putting into rotation, went down pretty well, and the scores were good as well. The General Knowledge round was also difficult, as only one team got as many as 10 points out of a possible 12.

The numbers on IQ Trivia was better than I would thought, as many teams got three of the five correct. But the team of If It's Brown, Flush It Down, who also got three right, wound up winning by just two points. Congratulations guys, as they also won "the double": Trivia Night champions and Best Team Name as well.

And also congratulations to Trivia Night regulars Rob and Melinda, who announced their engagement in the bar during the night. We had a champagne toast to them. I hope you have a lifetime of happiness together, you crazy kids!

Current Events
1. This country, whose exports rose a reported 17% in December, has now overtaken Germany and has become the world's largest exporter.
2. This rock band will perform a song at the upcoming Grammy Awards based on an interactive fan vote, the first time this has ever occurred.
3. This US state passed a bill in its legislature legalizing the use of medical marijuana recently.
4. This European country is taking the first steps to completely eliminate smoking totally from the country, gaining the ire of smokers as well as the tobacco industry there.
5. This 2001 film about the netherworld of Hollywood was chosen by the Los Angeles Film Critics Society as their Best Movie of the Decade last week.
6. This Oscar-winning director is planning to make a six-part documentary on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, to be seen on the Science Channel in 2011.
7. This company issued a recall of nearly 53 million bottles of over-the-counter products such as Motrin and Rolaids after unusual odors were detected and many people suffered nausea and diarrhea from them.

Answers: 1. China; 2. Bon Jovi; 3. New Jersey; 4. Finland; 5. "Mulholland Drive;" 6. Steven Spielberg; 7. Johnson & Johnson.

Q Up (Name the Next in the Series)
1. Pisces, Aries, Taurus.
2. Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley.
3. Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox.
4. Help, Rubber Soul, Revolver.
5. New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska.
6. Enero, Febrero, Marzo.
7. England, Brazil, West Germany.

Answers: 1. Gemini (Signs of the Zodiac); 2. Theodore Roosevelt (US Presidents); 3. Philadelphia Phillies (World Series winners in this decade); 4. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Beatles albums); 5. Hawaii (Last four states entering the Union); 6. Abril (Months of the year in Spanish); 7. Argentina (World Cup soccer champions).

1-10 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. This is the atomic number of lithium.
2. The number of interlocking rings in the Olympic Games symbol.
3. From the book of Exodus, this is the number of plagues inflicted on Egypt.
4. NFL Hall of Famer John Elway wore this number.
5. Mars is this number planet from the Sun.
6. In astrology, Taurus is this number sign of the Zodiac.
7. This was the number of Chiago White Sox players banned from MLB after dumping the 1919 World Series.
8. This is the number of US Supreme Court members currently sitting on the bench.
9. This was the number of days Israel was at war with Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1967.
10. This number US Highway runs over 2,000 miles from Key West, FL to Maine.

Answers: 1. three; 2. five; 3. ten; 4. seven; 5. four; 6. two; 7. eight; 8. nine; 9. six; 10. one.

General Knowledge
1. What city became the capital of Wales in 1955? ( 1 pt)
2. In 1969, Dave Thomas opened what fast food restaurant? ( 1 pt)
3. What fictional detective did Mickey Spillane create? ( 1 pt)
4. Who wrote the novels "Ivanhoe" and "Rob Roy?" ( 2 pt)
5. In 1931, Al Capone was convicted of what crime? ( 2 pt)
6. Burt Lancaster won the Best Actor Oscar for what film? ( 2 pt)
7. What is the only country that borders the White Sea? ( 3 pt)

Answers: 1. Cardiff; 2. Wendy's; 3. Mike Hammer; 4. Sir Walter Scott; 5. income tax evasion; 6. "Elmer Gantry;" 7. Russia.

IQ Trivia
1. In 1885, the first of what type of surgical operation was performed by Dr. William Grant? ( 3 points)
2. The painting "Woman With a Hat" is among the most famous works by what early 20th century artist? ( 5 points)
3. The band Zuzu's Petals gets its name from what classic film? ( 4 points)
4. The State of Deseret was a provisional state of the United States that was proposed in the mid-19th century by what group? ( 4 points)
5. Goa is the smallest state in what country? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. appendectomy; 2. Henri Matisse; 3. "It's a Wonderful Life;" 4. Mormons; 5. India.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sox, Pap Agree For 2010

The Red Sox and Jonathan Papelbon came to an agreement on a one-year deal today, for $9.35 million. They beat the noon arbitration deadline, and the deal should be announced shortly.

The Sox signed Hideki Okajima to a one-year deal over the weekend, and they had three other players eligible for arbitration: Jeremy Hermida, Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen.

No word yet as to whether the Red Sox avoided it with them, as in Theo Epstein's entire time as general manager, there hasn't been a single case gone to arbitration. Any cases will be heard beginning February 1.

Peter Gammons also reported the other day on NESN that the Red Sox had a four-year deal set with Jason Bay last July, but dropped the offer to two years after fears they had when they saw an MRI of his knee.

UPDATE: The Sox came to terms with Ramirez and Delcarmen, but Jeremy Hermida remains unsigned.

Monday, January 18, 2010

For Life!

Our old friend Jose Offerman got into trouble yet again, this time as a manager in the Dominican Republic of the Licey club. He got into an argument with umpire Daniel Rayburn a few days ago and took a swing at him, knocking the ump to the ground.

Offerman apologized for the incident, but has been kicked out of the Dominican Winter League for life. No charges has yet been filed against Offerman, who also got into plenty of trouble playing in independent ball in the US when he attacked another player with a bat.

Let's go to the video:

Yep, for life. And whenever I hear "for life" in almost anything, I always think of these guys:

The nWo always had a cool theme. Sweet!!!!

A New Category This Week

We at Tuesday Night Trivia are always looking to grow and expand, and tomorrow night we will be debuting a new category that we hope will be a recurring one. It's called "Q Up," and what it basically is is we will give you three subjects that have a common thread and you have to tell me what the next one that follows it. An example: "September, October, November." The answer would obviously be "December." That sort of thing.

The Q Train lightning round will be the return of a category we haven't done in a while: "1-10 Trivia." I will give you ten questions and every answer will be a number between 1 and 10, with none of the answers repeating.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
In 1969, Dave Thomas opened what fast food restaurant?

We get going at the usual time of 9 PM on Tuesday. Hope you can come out and join in on the fun on Tuesday night.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pants On The Ground?

Here's the Vikings locker room after today's game with Brett Favre leading a chant of "Pants On The Ground."

You've got me, to be honest. Whatever works. Skol Vikings!!

60 Minutes From The Super Bowl

The Vikings made a huge, big time statement today at the Metrodome, as they took the Dallas Cowboys out to the woodshed and gave them a good ol' fashioned ass whoopin, 34-3.

And I'm sure most of America was happy to see that team that enjoys calling themselves "America's Team" get their heads handed to them. (It's the NFL version of watching the Yankees get the asses kicked for me.)

Brett Favre was simply terrific, going 15-for-24 for 234 yards, and throwing four touchdown passes, three of which went to Sidney Rice. The Vikings defense was equally good, sacking Tony Romo six times. He fumbled three times and threw an interception. It just wasn't his day.

Favre hit Rice with the first TD in the first quarter, as Sidney made a spectacular catch for 45 yards and the Vikings were on their way. It was 17-3 at the half, and you got the feeling the game was over then. Any worries about the Vikings defense were put to rest, and it's clear the off week benefited them.

And Favre and the Vikings put the exclamation point on the day when favre hit Visanthe Shiancoe with an 11-yard TD pass just inside of two minutes to play, on fourth down. Keith Brooking of the Cowboys took exception to it, and I'm sure he and some of the other big mouth Dallas whiners will moan about that after the game. (Hey, you play for 60 minutes, pal. Try stopping the Vikings and keep your mouth shut.)

And of course, to put a capper on this day: screw Drew Pearson. He still pushed off on Nate Wright in 1975.

So now, the matchup that I thought would happen in midseason will now occur: the Vikings vs. the New Orleans Saints for the right to go to the Super Bowl. This is the 8th time the Vikings have gone to the NFC title game, the first since that awful loss to the Giants nine years ago. I'm sure the Saints will be the sentimental favorite (they are an actual 4 point favorite right now), but the Superdome should be rocking next Sunday at 6:30 PM.

And I can't imagine what Bar None, the half-Vikings, half-Saints bar in Greenwich Village will be like next week. I simply can't miss that.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Really, Martha?

Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley really put her tootsies in her yapper when she said on a radio show the other day that Curt Schilling was "a Yankee fan."

Now, you can call Schilling many things, and I mean many things, but Yankee fan isn't one of them.

Nothing like pissing off voters you're trying to woo by disrespecting a local sports legend. I love when these politicians who don't know the first damned thing about sports royally screw up on the subject and look like complete phonies.

I guess Scott Brown is as good as elected to the Senate. Here is the audio tape of Martha's goof:

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Best and The Worst

As the news about the unfolding tragedy in Haiti continues to pour in, I have to relate to you all something that really horrified me last night.

I'm part of an email group and one gentleman passed along information about Catholic Relief Services and the work they do. He let us all know about the 100 Catholic seminarians, who along with the Archbishop of Haiti, were killed in the quake that devastated that country this week.

Catholic Relief Services does a lot a good work, and that man suggested them as a group you can send money to without worrying about possible scams. (Unfortunately, the leeches come out of the woodwork during tragedies like this, and I remember that more than a few people went to jail trying to pull off scams after the 9/11 disaster.)

And then, some guy, and I have no idea who he is or what his views are, wrote this in response:

Yeah, sure. How much of our money can they absorb? I think the answer is all of it. It's a lost land, let it go.

That I was furious reading crap like this is an understatement. A "lost land, let it go?" Are you f**king kidding me, pal? Would you have the same attitude if you were from that country, or if a quake devastated the land of your ancestors? I sent him back a simple one line statement:

"Do you have any humanity, sir?"

I got no response back. Figures. Do we really manufacture people who think that we spend too much money already on a place like Haiti, and we should abandon them in their time of dire need? (Sounds a lot like Rush Limbaugh.) These are human beings, who have had their lives altered forever and are in a place where they are absolutely dependent on the rest of the world for help. (And do I need to mention how many Americans are missing in Haiti right now as well? Do we abandon them too, sir?)

Again, I have no idea who this guy is, but I was simply horrified at this attitude, where money seems to eclipse simple humanity. I am amazed that some people can be that unfeeling, that obsessed by money, and I like I wrote yesterday, soulless.

And a short time later, I found this absolutely heartbreaking post from Jeff Pearlman's blog, and sent this out to everyone on that email list. It's hard to see it and not be moved by it.

It has been heartwarming to see the world's response to the disaster in Haiti, but it has also been rather disconcerting to see the attitude of some people who think our money is more important than the lives of people who've had their world shattered in an instant through no fault of their own.

I pray for Mr. Lionel Michaud and his family, as well as all the good people of Haiti. May they all find peace one day.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Lack of Humanity

As many of you readers of mine know, I generally stay away from politics on this blog. I discuss the Red Sox, Vikings and trivia most of the time. But there is a subject I felt a need to comment on today, so you'll pardon me if I take this detour.

For the record, I consider myself an Independent. I have voted for Democrats as well as Republicans. My attitude towards voting and politics is, "Show me what you got." Both political parties have their good people and their whackjobs. I don't follow any political ideology blindly. I think for myself.

The news of last Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti has been unbelievably devastating. Depending on the source you hear, as many as 100,000 to 500,000 people there could be dead because of it. Haiti is generally regarded as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, so an earthquake registering 7.2 on the Richter scale couldn't have happened in a much worse place.

The scenes there are beyond horrible. People wandering the streets homeless or are just afraid to go back in their homes in fear of aftershocks. Haitian-Americans here are worried about their loved ones down there, as most can't find news about whether they are safe or not, mostly because of the breakdown in communications. Fortunately, we've seen help come from all over the world and for me it brings back memories of the way help came from everywhere to New York City after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

It's a heartbreaking situation, and something that should bring us all together to help those good people trapped in this terrible situation, regardless of where we stand on the political spectrum.

But yet we get this:

"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French ... and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. And the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another."

And this:

“We’ve already donated to Haiti! It’s called the US income tax! There are people who do charitable work every day in Haiti. It’s not as though… it’s our fault. There are people that have been trying to save Haiti, just as we’re trying to save Africa. You just can’t keep throwing money at it, because the dictatorships there just take it all. It’s a simple matter of self-reliance.”

The first quote is by Pat Robertson, and the second is by Rush Limbaugh. I'm simply floored by the lack of humanity by these two individuals. Innocent people are dying by the thousands, and Robertson, supposedly a man of God, thinks that Haiti is paying the price for some kind of "deal with the devil" that was made over two centuries ago.

And Limbaugh thinks we've done enough for Haiti, despite the fact that so many people now don't know where their next meal is coming from and the threat of disease is a real possibility. I guess we are supposed to turn our backs and say, "We've done enough. Time to be on your own pal."

The word "soulless" comes into my mind right now. This disaster is no fault of the Haitian people or its government. It's a catastrophe that happened through no fault of man, yet we have to listen to jackasses like this who have to drag out their own screwed views (mostly for their own gain).

Robertson and Limbaugh should both be ashamed of themselves. But I'm sure neither is. I can't help but think of a title from a famous John Lennon song, "How Do You Sleep?" when I read crap like this from them. (I prefaced this article about my political views because I'm not some crazy liberal who loses his mind at the sight of Limbaugh or Sarah Palin. And I don't believe Barack Obama is the Devil Incarnate either.)

If you really want to help the people of Haiti, you can donate $10 in a very easy way, the way I did yesterday. You can send a text to the Red Cross, at 90999 and text the word "HAITI." They will bill you on your next phone bill $10, and that money will go straight to them.

Right now, the people of Haiti need money, medical supplies, water and food. They don't need idiots who pontificate that this earthquake is somehow their fault and that we as Americans already have done enough.

May God bless the good folks of Haiti and that things will get better there and soon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Something New at 4th and Broadway

Tower Records is turning into Never Records.

It's actually a show being put on by musician Ted Riederer that's about to open at the famous location I once worked at, East 4th Street and Broadway. I have to check this out.

The location has been empty for some time, ever since Toys 'R Us cleared out after being there just a brief time. (Boy, was it positively surreal walking through that place with toys everywhere!) It breaks my heart every time I walk past there and see nothing. This should be very interesting.

It gets rolling on January 15th, this Friday. Here's more from The Village Voice about the show.

Trivia Q&A: January 12

We had 14 teams in for Trivia on Tuesday, on a cold night in New York and the crowd was pretty good. We had some good numbers for the "Q Are You" round, but we had just four teams get all ten questions correct in the "All or Nothing" trivia round. (It was slightly tougher than previous times we did the category.)

We also had good numbers for General Knowledge, but the IQ round was a bit tough, and only two teams got as many as three of those questions right. But one of them, I Wish This Microphone Was a Penis (they actually pinched the name from another team that had frequently used it who weren't in last night) wound up the winners by just three points (they were also the only team that got the "4 home runs in one game" question correct). Good work guys.

Current Events
1. This Oscar-winning actor, known for his voiceover commercials too, was named the announcer for the intro of "The CBS Evening News" recently.
2. CNN banned this actress after letting loose the F-bomb during the coverage of the network's New Year's celebration.
3. This US city passed Orlando, FL as the top American tourist destination for 2009.
4. This pop singer was recently criticized for accepting $2 million to perform at a private New Year's party for the son of Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy.
5. Magnus Carlson, a 19-year-old from Norway, recenly became the number one ranked player in this sport.
6. This singer gave a bizarre acceptance speech while winning an award at the People's Choice Awards last week, after only two days earlier she gave an equally strange acceptance speech at another awards gala.
7. Art Clokey, a famous animator and filmmaker, died last week at the age of 88. What character he created in the mid-1950s made him world famous?

Answers: 1. Morgan Freeman; 2. Kathy Griffin; 3. New York City; 4. Beyonce Knowles; 5. chess; 6. Mariah Carey; 7. Gumby.

Q Are You?
1. This man was born in New York City in 1946. He is an actor, director and screenwriter and was once nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, and was awarded the "Worst Actor of the Century" Razzie Award in 2000.
2. This man was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1980. He was been MLB's Rookie of the Year, an All-Star eight times, won a World Series and three times an MVP.
3. This man was born in London, England in 1947. He's a musician, actor and producer and was at the forefront of the glam rock era in the early 1970s, but he had his biggest success in 1983 when he had three Top 15 hit singles.
4. This woman was born in Tarrytown, NY in 1963. She made history in 1983, was a major source of controversy less than a year later, but went on to a successful career in music and movies, earning Grammy, Tony and Emmy nominations.
5. This man was born in Blackheath, England in 1950. He set up a record mail order business in 1970, two years later opened a chain of record stores and by 2009 his net worth was about $2.5 billion.
6. This woman was born in Glasgow, KY in 1945. She worked closely with President Richard Nixon in the 1970s, and moved on to a successful journalism career with both CBS News and now ABC News.
7. This man was born in Palestine, TX in 1985. He set the NCAA rushing record in his freshman year at the University of Oklahoma, and holds the NFL record for yards rushed in a game, 296, which he set in 2008.

Answers: 1. Sylvester Stallone; 2. Albert Pujols; 3. David Bowie; 4. Vanessa Williams; 5. Richard Branson; 6. Diane Sawyer; 7. Adrian Peterson.

All or Nothing Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Who is on the ten dollar bill?
2. Which NYC borough currently has the largest population?
3. How many states are not in the continental United States?
4. Lisbon is the capital of what country?
5. How many Great Lakes are there?
6. Oklahoma City Thunder play in what professional league?
7. What actor won an Oscar for Best Actor for "Scent of a Woman?"
8. What rock band had an album called "Exile On Main Street?"
9. Who was Ronald Reagan's vice president?
10. Who wrote "A Tale of Two Cities?"

Answers: 1. Alexander Hamilton; 2. Brooklyn; 3. two; 4. Portugal; 5. five; 6. NBA; 7. Al Pacino; 8. Rolling Stones; 9. George H.W. Bush; 10. Charles Dickens.

General Knowledge
1. What US city celebrates The Mummer's Parade every New Year's? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States? ( 1 pt)
3. What European city was the first city in history to boast of one million residents? ( 1 pt)
4. In which European country were French Fries invented in 1680? ( 2 pt)
5. According to Gallup polls, what is America's favorite pizza topping? ( 2 pt)
6. Which metal is the best conductor of electricity? ( 2 pt)
7. Accra is the capital of what country? ( 3 pt)

Answers: 1. Philadelphia; 2. marijuana; 3. London; 4. Belgium; 5. pepperoni; 6. silver; 7. Ghana.

IQ Trivia
1. Thalassophobia is a fear of what? ( 4 points)
2. Entrepreneur Jimmy Wales founded what web site in 2001? ( 3 points)
3. Van Diemen's Land was the original name used by the Europeans for what island? ( 5 points)
4. What was the number one prime time TV show in America for four consecutive years between 1972 and 1976? ( 4 points)
5. In 1894, Bobby Lowe of the Boston Braves became the first MLB player to do what in a game, something that has also been done by 14 players since? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. ocean; 2. Wikipedia; 3. Tasmania; 4. "All in the Family;" 5. Hit four home runs in a game.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Living a Life of Delusion

I watched the entire interview between Bob Costas and Mark McGwire on the MLB Network tonight after his stunning announcement that he did indeed use steroids during his career. (Not that it really surprised anyone; the timing was the stunning part.)

It was at times painful to watch. I have always believed that McGwire is a decent man, and that he was mostly sincere in the interview.

But does he really think there was no connection between his steroid use and his power numbers? That he put up those ungodly home run numbers just on good hand/eye coordination and other gifts from God and not from some artificial help?

Really, Mark?

It's clear the McGwire wanted to get this out of the way before the 2010 season begins and he takes over as the Cardinals' batting coach. But it is just beginning for him. This will dog him the rest of his career as well as the rest of his life.

He will definitely never see the Hall of Fame except as a paying customer.

And I have a feeling he really doesn't care about that. I have to say that it took a lot of courage to do what he did today. He said he felt the need to unburden himself and tell the truth. I hope it's something that will make him sleep better at night.

It is sure as hell something that neither Barry Bonds nor Roger Clemens will ever do.

But he wasn't telling the whole truth on Monday night. Maybe McGwire really and truly believes that there was no connection between steroids and his power numbers. If he does, he can only be called one thing: delusional.

Q Are You? Returns Tuesday

The Special Category for Tuesday's Trivia Night will be our monthly installment of "Q Are You?" For those of you not in the know, I will give you a few clues about a current celebrity, and you have to identify just who I am talking about. Simple, no?

The Q Train lightning round will be "All or Nothing Trivia," ten rather basic questions, but should you get just one of the ten incorrect, you will receive no points. Get them all right and you will get five.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What US city celebrates The Mummer's Parade every New Year's?

We should get going at the regular time of 9 PM. We got off to great start for 2010 last week, and I hope we can keep the momentum going this Tuesday night. Hope to see you all then.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bring On Dallas

The Dallas Cowboys made a pretty loud statement yesterday in whipping the Philadelphia Eagles, 34-14, and advanced to the next round, and will take on the Vikings at the Metrodome next Sunday.

It was Dallas' first postseason win since 1996, and I must admit I was pulling for Philly on Saturday. Not only because I don't like the Cowboys, but they have been playing some unreal defense lately. And also, the Vikings have beaten Green Bay twice this year, and they would have played the Packers-Cardinals winner had the Eagles got the win.

I was actually glad to see the Jets win in Cincinnati yesterday. The Bengals looked simply awful, as they seemed determined to destroy themselves, with dumb penalties and missed field goals. The Jets were simply the better team on Saturday.

But I was glad to see them shove it back in the face of that idiot Francesa, who on WFAN all but implied the Jets had no business being in the playoffs because their last two wins were somehow "illegitimate" in his eyes. (He kept calling them a 7-7 team in "real" games in 2009.)

Eat it, Fatso.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Run For The Kids On March 21

If you'd like to run in the New York City Half-Marathon on March 21st and do it with my friends at the Fresh Air Fund, there is still time.

The lottery just closed, so if you got shut out and you'd like to do it with the FAF, you can go here. There are a few slots still available and you can help out a very worthy cause at the same time.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Pull Out Those 2004 World Series Memories

The noted filmmaker Ken Burns, who did the wonderful "Baseball" documentary back in 1994, is doing an update of the film, from where he left off up until today.

And he is doing an extensive focus on the Red Sox' 2004 World Series win, and is currently seeking fans with photos including scenes of celebration taken in the hours and days after the 2004 World Series win, congratulatory signs posted in homes or businesses, memorabilia left at grave sites of loved ones and anything else that may be relevant.

If you have anything that might qualify for the documentary, you can send it to:

I just might have something that could interest them. The documentary is scheduled to be shown on PBS this fall. (With thanks to Allan at The Joy of Sox for posting this at his site the other day.)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

For Your Viewing Pleasure

This Sunday night, the MLB Network will be broadcasting "Holy Land Hardball," a documentary about baseball in Israel, at 10 PM.

It is the story of the founding of the Israel Baseball League, and the film was made by Brett Rapkin, who I had the pleasure of working with on "Impossible to Forget: The Story of the '67 Boston Red Sox."

And one of the driving forces behind the founding of the league was Dan Duquette, the former general manager of the Red Sox from 1994-2002. Kevin Youkilis, as well as former MLB players Art Shamsky, Ken Holtzman and Ron Blomberg make appearances in the documentary.

The founding of the league was the dream of a Boston businessman named Larry Baras, and in 2007, it came true. He had a lot of obstacles to overcome. Here's the trailer from the film:

I haven't seen the film yet, but I look forward to checking it out. I love the last line on the trailer of "Holy Land Hardball": "It only took 5,767 years."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Continuing Travesty

The Hall of Fame voting was announced today, and Andre Dawson was the lone player to receive the magic number of 75% for election. Congratulations to The Hawk, and he becomes the 33rd Red Sox player to go to Cooperstown. (Thank you Gordon Edes for the info.)

Here are the top nine vote-getters:
Andre Dawson 420 (77.9%)
Bert Blyleven 400 (74.2%)
Roberto Alomar 397 (73.7%)
Jack Morris 282 (52.3%)
Barry Larkin 278 (51.6%)
Lee Smith 255 (47.3%)
Edgar Martinez 195 (36.2%)
Tim Raines 164 (30.4%)
Mark McGwire 128 (23.7%)

Is it just me or does Mark McGwire get 23% of the vote every year?

It was hysterical listening to Mike "Fatso" Francesa on WFAN after the vote ranting about how Dawson and Barry Larkin aren't Hall of Famers and never should be. He went on about how Don Mattingly would be there if his career hadn't flamed out. I feel like I drop a few IQ points whenever I hear this dimwit go on and on. No wonder Phil Mushnick calls him "The Pope."

But unfortunately, Bert Blyleven was passed over for the 13th time. I won't go on and on here about his Hall of Fame-worthy numbers, but this year's vote was especially galling. Blyleven missed by just five votes, and as it turns out, five voters actually handed in blank ballots.

Those morons should be stripped of their votes for good. (And if all five had abstained and not sent in their ballots, Blyleven would have been elected, as his voting percentage would have gone past 75%. So Bert has every reason to be miffed at these guys.)

I want to hear one of those five (if they have the guts) explain why Dawson, Blyleven, Tim Raines, Lee Smith or Barry Larkin don't merit inclusion. I was surprised Alomar missed, as most people felt he was a sure bet for election this year, but he came up just short, at 73%. I believe he was hurt by the spitting incident in Toronto in the early 1990s, as well as they way career fizzled out in New York, and the fact he was in the tabloids not long ago over an ex-girlfriend. He also wasn't the friendliest guy with the press, so that can't benefit him either.

But Alomar will get in, and probably next year. Blyleven, on the other hand, has just two years left. The fact his numbers continue to grow every year should merit his inclusion next year. But it's still a travesty he's been kept out this long.

Adrian Beltre's Greatest Hits (or Picks)

My friend Adam sent me this YouTube video of the newest Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre last night, with some of the sparkling plays he's made at hot corner in his Seattle career.

It's actually titled "Adrian Bertle's Fielding 2006-2009 Mariners." However you spell his last name, it's quite a defensive highlight reel.

Trivia Q&A: January 5

We had our first Trivia Night of 2010 on Tuesday night, and we had 15 teams take part. We had some strong scores for Current Events and True or False Trivia, and the Elvis Presley Trivia numbers weren't bad either.

The scores were tight going into IQ Trivia, with the top six teams separated by just three points. But the team that led the entire night, All Things Considered, I'd Rather Be Eating a Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich with Bacon, held on and won by two points. (I think that was the longest name of any Trivia Night winner in our history, and very appropriate for the week.) Congratulations to Rob and his team, and it was his second win in three weeks.

I also want to thank everyone who brought out a birthday cake for me last night. Every week we award a free pitcher of beer to the best team name, and we who work at Thom's vote on it. All of my friends voted for "Happy Birthday JBQ" and I sense something was up. When I announced the winner, out popped the birthday cake. I'm very touched you did that, and I also want to thank The Stepfathers for giving me a cream-filled cupcake with a candle on it, too. The cake and cupcake were delicious!

Current Events
1. This talk show host announced last week that she is ending her show this spring after a five-year run.
2. This web site admitted a big mistake last week, as they identified a picture of John F. Kennedy with a bunch of naked women on a yacht, but it turns out the photo was a fake.
3. The owner of "Magic Salt," a new product used to clear roads and sidewalks of ice, said the secret ingredient in his product was this type of alcoholic drink.
4. Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton, teammates on this NBA team, allegedly pulled guns on each other during an argument over a gambling debt last week in the team's locker room.
5. 95 people were killed by a suicide bomber as he attacked on a volleyball court in this country on New Year's Day.
6. What prestigious honor was bestowed upon actor Patrick Stewart, also known as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, last week?
7. This past Monday, the world's tallest building, over 2600 feet tall, opened in this Middle Eastern city, and its nearly 1,000 feet taller than the previous record holder.

Answers: 1. Tyra Banks; 2. TMZ; 3. vodka; 4. Washington Wizards; 5. Pakistan; 6. knighted by Queen Elizabeth; 7. Dubai.

Elvis Presley Trivia
1. Who is the only artist that had more number one singles than Elvis Presley in the US? a. Elton John; b. The Beatles; c. Mariah Carey; d. Madonna.
2. Elvis won only three Grammys, and in what music category were they in? a. Rock'n'roll; b. Country; c. Gospel; d. Honorary.
3. Blue Suede Shoes, a big hit for Elvis, was originally written by which artist? a. Carl Perkins; b. Chuck Berry; c. Buddy Holly; d. Elvis Presley.
4. Which Elvis song was the first record to reach number one on Billboard's Pop, Country and R&B charts, all in the same week? a. Love Me Tender; b. Blue Suede Shoes; c. Heartbreak Hotel; d. Hound Dog.
5. What country did Elvis serve in in the US Army in the late 1950s? a. England; b. Japan; c. South Korea; d. Germany.
6. On what show was Elvis famously shown from just the waist up? a. Tonight Show; b. Ed Sullivan Show; c. Steve Allen Show; d. Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theatre.
7. What state was Elvis Presley born in? a. Louisiana; b. Tennessee; c. Alabama; d. Mississippi.

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

True or False Trivia
1. Adolf Hitler owned land in Colorado.
2. The definition of a hamlet is a village without a church.
3. Abraham Lincoln's tomb is the most visited presidential grave.
4. Americans say they hate spinach more than any other food.
5. The greyhound has the best eyesight of all breeds of dogs.
6. Billboard Magazine's "Top Artist of the 1970s" was Elton John.
7. Boston was the first city in America with a paved street in the 17th century.
8. Walt Disney won more Oscars than any other person.
9. The average life span of a dolphin is 25 years.
10. In LA, there are actually more people than there are automobiles.

Answers: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, JFK; 4. false, tofu; 5. true; 6. true; 7. false, New York City; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, there are more cars.

General Knowledge
1. What actress won an Oscar for her role in "Klute?" ( 1 pt)
2. How many symphonies did Beethoven compose during his lifetime? ( 1 pt)
3. In 1891, James Naismith introduced the first version of what sport? ( 1 pt)
4. What day does the United States fiscal year begin? ( 2 pt)
5. Along with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, who was the third crew member of Apollo 11? ( 2 pt)
6. In 1840, Samuel Morse received a patent for what invention? ( 2 pt)
7. "Cinco de Mayo" commemorates Mexico's victory over what country's army in 1862? ( 3 pt)

Answers: 1. Jane Fonda; 2. nine; 3. basketball; 4. October 1st; 5. Michael Collins; 6. telegraph; 7. France.

IQ Trivia
1. Which one of Giacomo Puccini's operas is set in Nagasaki, Japan? ( 4 points)
2. What future rock superstar played as a session man on The Hollies 1969 hit song, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother?" ( 5 points)
3. In 1919, Afghanistan declared their independence from what country? ( 4 points)
4. Art Fleming was the original host of what popular TV game show? ( 3 points)
5. On what famous day did the King of England once note in his diary, "Nothing important happened today?" ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. "Madame Butterfly;" 2. Elton John; 3. United Kingdom; 4. "Jeopardy;" 5. July 4, 1776.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Kotchman to Seattle, Ellsbury to LF

The Red Sox traded first baseman Casey Kotchman to the Seattle Mariners today for infielder/outfielder Bill Hall. Kotchman's days in Boston were numbered once the Sox signed Adrian Beltre yesterday.

Kotchman will be Seattle's starting first baseman while Hall will be used in a utility role by the Red Sox.

And the Red Sox also officially announced that Jacoby Ellsbury will play left field next season, as Mike Cameron, who has won Gold Gloves in center field, will play that position in 2010. Smart move by the Sox, as Cameron has the stronger arm and Ellsbury, with the weaker arm, is better suited to play the Green Monster in left, a position Cameron has rarely played in his career.

The Truck Leaves In 38 Days

We now have an official day for Truck Day, the day all the items are packed at Fenway Park and head south to Ft. Myers, Florida. It's Friday, February 12th, five days after the Super Bowl.

Something to look forward to with all this lousy cold weather we're in the middle of.

Here's more from Extra Bases.

Pitchers and catchers report on February 18th, and the first team workout is two days later.

I feel warmer already.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Red Sox, Beltre Agree On a One Year Deal

The rumors were getting hot and heavy that the Red Sox were close to signing former Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre to a deal, and now it appears that they have agreed on a one-year deal worth $9 million.

There is also a player option for 2011, worth $5 million, or a $1 million buyout.

This deal will put to rest the Adrian Gonzalez rumors, as he will most likely stay in San Diego. And it should mean the end of Mike Lowell's time in Boston as well, as he should be on another team by the time spring training ends.

Interesting that Beltre's agent, Dr. Evil (Scott Boras), could only nail down a one-year deal here with an option.

Theo Epstein has really improved the Red Sox defense, adding Gold Glove winners in center field and third base, as well as a pretty respectable shortstop.


Yep, it's that day again. Another birthday has rolled around. I'm not doing anything special today, but I'll be with the family and friends tonight.

I share this birthday with such famous folks as Sir Isaac Newton, Louis Braille, Michael Stipe, Dyan Cannon, Don Shula and Floyd Patterson. Here are a few others. (I never knew I have the same birthday as James Bond. No, not 007, but the famous ornithologist who the character was actually named after by Ian Fleming.)

Here is the list of all-time MLB players who were born on this date. No Hall of Famers here, or even great players. One active manager is here, Charlie Manuel. George Selkirk, the old Yankee outfielder, has the most lifetime HRs by anyone born on this day with 108, and BA, with .290. Ted Lilly of the Cubs has the most lifetime wins of anyone born today, with 103. (Jay Tibbs, journeyman pitcher back in the 1980s, was born on the same day I was.)

They're shooting off fireworks in Burma (or Myanmar), as it is their Independence Day. It is the feast day of the first American saint ever canonized, Elizabeth Ann Seton. And it was 24 years ago today that Phil Lynott, the great lead singer and guitarist of Thin Lizzy, died at the young age of 36.

Found this funny quote about birthdays yesterday from Jerry Seinfeld:

"Well, birthdays are merely symbolic of how another year has gone by and how little we've grown. No matter how desperate we are that someday a better self will emerge, with each flicker of the candles on the cake, we know it's not to be, that for the rest of our sad, wretched pathetic lives, this is who we are to the bitter end. Inevitably, irrevocably; happy birthday? No such thing."

In Honor of The King

Well, it's a new year and a new decade folks, and on Tuesday night, we will have our first Trivia Night of 2010. And what better to get it rolling than to have "Elvis Presley Trivia" as a Special Category? It will be seven questions about The King (seen here with his famous meeting with President Richard Nixon in 1970), who would have been 75 this coming Friday. For those of you who are not big Elvis fans, the questions will be multiple choice.

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

This week's Sneak Peek is:
In 1891, James Naismith introduced the first version of what sport?

We will get going at 9 PM as usual. We've had some good crowds over the holidays, and I thank you all for that. I hope to see many of you that missed Trivia Night when you were away on Tuesday night.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

It's a Bye For The Vikings

Last Monday I was pissed. Really pissed at the Minnesota Vikings for what appeared to be some really uninspired play in their recent games in Carolina and Chicago. And with the Philadelphia Eagles on a six-game winning streak, it appeared that the Vikes were blowing a sure-fire first round berth in the playoffs.

But the ship was righted today, as the Vikings took the REALLY uninspired New York Giants out to the woodshed and gave them a 44-7 ass kicking at the Metrodome. And tonight, the Eagles looked like they were just playing out the string too, as Dallas easily beat them, 24-0. So, the Vikings now get a first round bye next week, and their first playoff game will be at the Metrodome the weekend of January 16-17.

The Giants should really be embarrassed by the effort they put out today. I really thought after getting raked over the coals by not just the Carolina Panthers, but by the press and their fans that they would give the Vikings a fight today. I couldn't have been more wrong.

They simply quit on Tom Coughlin, and someone will pay for it, probably defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan. The Vikings simply tore the Giants defense to shreds, and played a near-flawless game. The last two games became a distant memory as the Vikings coasted to an easy 31-0 halftime lead, with Brett Favre throwing two TD passes to Sidney Rice and one to Visanthe Shiancoe. Adrian Peterson also ran for one.

Favre threw four TDs, and for 316 yards. Percy Harvin set a Vikings record for all-purpose yards, with 2,081. Tarvaris Jackson took over for Favre midway through the third quarter, and the fans were chanting "Let's Go Cowboys" as the slaughter was winding down.

When the Vikings were up by 41 points, I couldn't help but think of a certain game that was played in 2001 at the Meadowlands, when the Vikings got stomped, 41-0, by the Giants in one of the worst games I've ever seen the Vikings play. It seemed like the complete reverse today. But back then, it was the NFC Championship game, which made it that much worse.

It was a big time win for the Vikings, who finish 12-4 and they will play Dallas in the second round in Minneapolis if the Cowboys beat Philly again next week.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Just Too Cool

Too bad backup Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rusk didn't get into yesterday's Winter Classic game, as he had one of the cooler goalie masks I've ever seen.

A Bruin looking over Fenway Park with a shredded Yankee jersey on his tooth.

With thanks to The Joy of Sox for bringing this to my attention.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Love It Whenever Boston Wins at Fenway

And even if there is ice on the infield.

It was quite a sight to see a hockey game played in a baseball cathedral like Fenway Park. But the NHL pulled it off, and it was quite a spectacle. The Winter Classic outdoor game is a really cool thing the NHL does every New Year's Day. The Bruins won the game over the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1 in overtime, on Marco Sturm's goal. Here's more on the Winter Classic.

The Dropkick Murphys did "I'm Shipping Up to Boston." James Taylor did "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Sweet Caroline" was sung in the third period when the Bruins were behind, 1-0. I guess it inspired them to victory.

On the NHL's web site, they called it a "Bruins walkoff win." Is the NHL now using that term for overtime wins now?

I did like color announcer Ed Olczyk's line after the game-winner: "The Bruins win in extra innings at Fenway Park."

And I must correct lead announcer Mike Emrick, who said that Fenway Park is the only MLB stadium with a "ground-rule triple." He said that if a batted ball strikes the ladder on the Green Monster, it is an automatic triple. That simply isn't true, and the Fenway Ground Rules back that up.

I honestly never had heard that before. (There is an automatic triple awarded to a batter if a fielder throws his glove at a fair ball.)

It was a cool afternoon watching the game from Fenway, and it added to my enjoyment of watching the "Honeymooners" and "Twilight Zone" marathons. (My TV remote got some workout.) Speaking of the Honeymooners, another of my favorite episodes was on this afternoon, when Ralph becomes "The Chef of the Future":

Core a apple. Classic.

God bless Jackie Gleason and Art Carney.

And Fenway Park, too.