Monday, February 28, 2011

The Ricky Vaughn Trainwreck Tour Is In Full Swing

It would be hilarious if it didn't portend such a disasterous ending. He's now going from show to show, and each one is more bizarre than the previous one. Somebody needs to stop him. Now.

Here's Charlie Sheen on Good Morning America on Monday.

By the end of this year, he will either return to the California Penal League as a manager or will be taking the dirt nap.

Count on it.

Q Tip Trivia Kicks Off March

The Special Category for Trivia Night this Tuesday is the monthly installment of "Q Tip Trivia." That is when I ask you seven multiple choice general knowledge questions and the answer can be one, two, three, all four or none of the choices. You get a point for each correct answer you give, but should you make one wrong choice, you get no points for that question. So you have to be very careful in that round.

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

The Sneak Peek question is:
"The island of Sardinia in the Mediterreanean Sea belongs to what country?"

We had a tremendous turnout last week, and hopefully we will have a similar crowd tomorrow night. The weather should be fine, and we get going at 9 PM, and I hope to see many of you then.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

So Long Duke

I was saddened to learn tonight of the passing of a true Brooklyn icon, the great Duke Snider.

He is the answer to a great trivia question: "Who hit the most home runs in the decade of the 1950s?" Most people wouldn't think of Snider right off the bat (most would probably say Willie Mays, Ted Williams or Mickey Mantle).

I wasn't around when the Dodgers were here in Brooklyn, but he meant as much to Brooklyn as any athlete who has ever come from the borough or represented it.

Here's more from The New York Times.

Rest in peace, Duke. And thanks for the memories.

From all of Brooklyn.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Teaching Those College Boys a Lesson

It's now 21 straight over Boston College, as the Red Sox cruised to a 6-0 win over the Eagles at Ft. Myers today. The Red Sox pitchers allowed just one hit, in the seventh inning, and Kevin Youkilis hit a three-run home run in his first at-bat in the first inning.

The first of many wins in 2011.

UPDATE (8:55 PM): The Red Sox came from behind to whip Northeastern in the second game of the twin bill at Ft. Myers, 13-2, erasing a 2-0 lead by the college guys in the fourth inning.

Bring on the pros.

Remember the 2/26 Victims

It was 18 years ago today that an explosion rocked the underground garages below the World Trade Center that killed six people and injured hundreds.

The six people were John DiGiovanni, Robert Kirkpatrick, Stephen A. Knapp, William Macko, Wilfredo Mercado and Monica Rodriguez Smith, who was pregnant with her first child.

The above picture is the original memorial to the six victims that was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the WTC.

Please say a prayer for them and their families today. They are never forgotten.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Happy 68th George

Today would have been George Harrison's 68th birthday. Still hard to believe that he's been gone nearly a decade now.

The Quiet Beatle also had a great sense of humor, and was also a huge Monty Python fan. He was the executive producer of "The Life of Brian" and also had a part in the very funny Beatles takeoff written by Eric Idle, "The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash." He played an interviewer named Eric Manchester, and in this clip he chats with Michael Palin while people are stealing from the Rutles company behind them, and he also interviews Ron Wood at the end of this clip.

We miss you, George.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Matt & Ben Want To Swap Unis To Swap Wives

I heard about this film a while back. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Academy Award winners who've never been confused with being Yankee fans, are attempting to make a film about the infamous wife swap that Yankee pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson did that made big news back in 1972.

The New York Post reported today that Damon and Affleck are currently in the middle of another rewrite, and that former Yankees of the early 1970s aren't cooperating with the project. No big surprise there.

I am curious about this film, as I remember this weird episode and I'm wondering what kind of film this will turn out to be.

And of course, I'd love to see what Damon and Affleck look like in Yankee uniforms. Probably beyond surreal.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Old Time Hockey, Futuristic Music

Here's a cool clip from one of my favorite films. It's a trailer from "Slap Shot", with the music of Hans Zimmer of "Inception", who is nominated for the Best Score Oscar for the film this year.

With thanks to the Hanson Brothers on Facebook for alerting me to the clip.

Trivia Q&A: February 22

Tuesday night was the biggest night of Trivia so far in 2011, as we had a huge crowd and 24 teams took part. It took nearly 2 1/2 hours to complete, but everyone seemed to enjoy the night.

The numbers for Oscar Trivia were pretty good, but only one team got more than one point in the final question, the extra credit question about the women who've won two or more Best Actress Oscar. (My apologies for not mentioning we were doing that kind of question ahead of time. The Omnipotent Q goofs up every so often.)

It was a close night all the way through, and we had something happen at the end that has never happened before. A four-way tie for second place! So we broke the tie with a question connected to the movies. I asked the teams to add up the ages of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and James Dean when they died and give me that number. The team of Badgers For Collective Bargaining hit it right on the nose with 102. (Marilyn was 36, Elvis was 42 and Jimmy Dean was 24.)

They finished three points behind the winners Buckle Up For Safety, who entered the winner's circle with 40 points and their first ever Trivia Night win. My congratulations to them.

Best Team Name: Phoebe's Freebies Give Me The Heebie Jeebies

Current Events
1. What American oil company was fined over $8.6 billion last week by a court in Ecuador for polluting the Amazon over a 20-year period?
2. David Letterman apologized on his show last Wednesday to what actress after it was announced Tuesday she would appear and publicly apologize but canceled the following day?
3. What artist's self-portrait was sold at auction in London for over 417 million last week?
4. What bookstore chain, the second largest in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy recently with plans to sell at least 200 stores?
5. What European country broke Iraq's record last week for going the longest time, over 8 months, without having a government?
6. 1970s pop singing duo The Bellamy Brothers are suing what current female pop singer for plagarism, accusing her of ripping off one of their 1979 songs in her latest single?
7. Trevor Bayne became the youngest person ever to accomplish what feat this past weekend?

Oscar Trivia
1. Who is the most nominated Best Actor never to win the Oscar? a. Peter O'Toole; b. Richard Burton; c. Cary Grant; d. Albert Finney.
2. What was the last film to win Best Picture without any acting nominations? a. The Hurt Locker; b. No Country For Old Men; c. Slumdog Millionaire; d. Crash.
3. What actress has the most total Oscar nominations? a. Katherine Hepburn; b. Bette Davis; c. Ingrid Bergman; d. Meryl Streep.
4. Which one of the following has won the Best Director Oscar twice? a. Clint Eastwood; b. Martin Scorsese; c. Woody Allen; d. Francis Ford Coppola.
5. Which one of the following films won all 11 Oscars it was nominated for? A. Titanic; b. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; c. Ben Hur; d. West Side Story.
6. Which of these films wasn't nominated for a single Oscar? a. Saturday Night Fever; b. Monty Python and The Holy Grail; c. The Shawshank Redemption; d. North By Northwest.
7. 12 actresses have won the Best Actress Oscar at least twice. Name 6 for one point, and one point for each one over six.

Actors Who Direct Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Apollo 13
2. Reds
3. Letters From Iwo Jima
4. The War of the Roses
5. A Bronx Tale
6. That Thing You Do
7. A League of Their Own
8. Quiz Show
9. Sling Blade
10. The Prince of Tides

General Knowledge
1. Who was the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence? ( 1 pt)
2. "Call Me Ishmael" was the first line from what classic novel? ( 1 pt)
3. Paul Simon recorded his hit 1986 album "Graceland" primarily in what country? ( 1 pt)
4. Which of the 4 major North American sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) contains the most teams? ( 2 pt)
5. "Exile On Main Street" is a 1972 album by what classic rock band? ( 2 pt)
6. How many fingers are there on a bat's wing? ( 2 pt)
7. What is the longest river in Europe? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Which state's automobile license plate boasts that it is the "Birthplace of Aviation?" ( 3 points)
2. What is the world's fastest racket sport? ( 4 points)
3. 24 Sussex Drive is the famous address of what person? ( 4 points)
4. What does a lepidopterologist study? ( 5 points)
5. What famous woman is the sister of Oregon State basketball coach Craig Robinson? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Chevron (Texaco); 2. Lindsay Lohan; 3. Andy Warhol; 4. Borders; 5. Belgium; 6. Britney Spears; 7. Win the Daytona 500.

Oscar Trivia
1. a; 2. c; 3. d; 4. a; 5. b; 6. b; 7. Katherine Hepburn (4); Luise Rainer; Bette Davis; Olivia deHavilland; Vivien Leigh; Ingrid Bergman; Liz Taylor; Glenda Jackson; Jane Fonda; Sally Field; Jodie Foster; Hilary Swank (all twice).

Actors Who Direct Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Ron Howard; 2. Warren Beatty; 3. Clint Eastwood; 4. Danny DeVito; 5. Robert DeNiro; 6. Tom Hanks; 7. Penny Marshall; 8. Robert Redford; 9. Billy Bob Thornton; 10. Barbra Streisand.

General Knowledge
1. John Hancock; 2. "Moby Dick;" 3. South Africa; 4. NFL (32); 5. Rolling Stones; 6. five; 7. Volga.

IQ Trivia
1. Ohio; 2. badminton; 3. Prime Minister of Canada; 4. butterflies; 5. Michelle Obama.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More Tito News: He'll Head The Ship Through 2013

Jon Heyman tweeted today that the Red Sox will pick up Terry Francona's two-year option for 2012 and 2013 at $9 million. If it's true (it's from Heyman of course, but I bet it will happen shortly), it's another smart, no-brainer move by the Sox brass.

Tito also announced that Josh Beckett will start the MLB Grapefruit opener for the Red Sox this Sunday night against the Twins at Ft. Myers. Clay Buchholz and Brandon Duckworth will also get in some work on the mound for the Sox.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tito's a Hall of Famer

He might get into the National Baseball Hall of Fame one day, but Terry Francona can now call himself a Hall of Famer. Today he was elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame, along with Dick Groat, Tim Wallach and five other oustanding collegiate players. Francona played at Arizona from 1978-80, and won the Golden Spikes Award for best collegiate player in 1980.

Here's who he'll be joining at the NCBHOF.

Congratulations, Tito. One more World Series championship will put Tito into Cooperstown, as every manager who has won at least three World Series titles is enshrined there, except for Joe Torre (and that is just a matter of time, when he is officially retired from managing).

Tito also announced that Kyle Weiland, who pitched in 2010 for the Portland Sea Dogs, will get the start in the first game of Saturday's opening twin bill, the 1 PM game against Boston College. Stolmy Pimentel, who pitched at Single A Salem last year, will start the second game against Northeastern at Ft. Myers.

Not One But Two Movie Categories This Week

We have a rare event for Trivia Night this week, as both rotating categories will be on movies, in honor of the Academy Awards ceremony being held this coming Sunday night. The Special Category will be "Oscar Trivia." No, there will be no questions about everyone's favorite sportswriter from the New York Herald (pictured), but it will be seven multiple choice questions about the history of the movies' highest honor.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Actors Who Direct Trivia." I will give you ten well-known films that were directed by people better known as actors and actresses. You just have to identify them.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Call Me Ishmael" was the first line from what classic novel?

We'll get going at the usual time of 9 PM. I hope many of you can come out, especially those of you who know your movies.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Can't Tell The Players Without a Scorecard

For those of you curious about the new Red Sox players in 2011 and what numbers they'll be wearing, here they are, courtesy of Pete Abraham of the Globe and The Joy of Sox:

Carl Crawford - 13
Adrian Gonzalez - 28
Andrew Miller - 30
Matt Albers - 32
Dan Wheeler - 36
Curt Young (pitching coach) - 40
John Lackey - 41 (he wore 40 last year)
Tony Pena Jr. - 46
Bobby Jenks - 52
Alfredo Aceves - 91 (will be the highest number ever worn by a Red Sox player)

And in case you'd like to see more information on the Red Sox and who has worn what numbers in their history, check out this page at

BTW, the picture I posted has Carl Crawford's number 13 home jersey with his last name on the back. To whoever is selling this jersey, the Sox don't have their names on the backs of their home uniforms. I'm a stickler for accuracy and a traditionalist, and would never wear a Sox home jersey with the names on the back. So there.

The Greatest Catch I've Ever Seen

Jim Edmonds announced his retirement from MLB yesterday after 18 seasons with six teams. I'll always think of him as being the man who made the second out in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 World Series, when Keith Foulke struck him out.

Edmonds retires with 393 home runs, and 1199 RBI. I can understand why he wanted to give it one more go, to reach the 400/1200 plateau. But his legs gave out on him, and he comes up short of a couple of worthy offensive milestones. I'm sure he will merit some serious Hall of Fame consideration in 2016.

Edmonds was simply one of the greatest center fielders in baseball history, as he won eight Gold Gloves (and I'm sure he deserved every one). In my opinion, he made the single greatest single catch in history, in Kansas City off the Royals' David Howard in June 1997. I think it's better than the famous Willie Mays catch in the 1954 World Series: full extension away from the plate on the dead run, bearing in on the center field wall, and he grabs it.

Here is the catch, included in MLB Network's "Prime 9" of the greatest catches. They agree with me it's number one. (It pops up at about 1:45 of the clip.)

Enjoy your retirement Jim.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Two Comic Legends Leave Us

The weather's better here in New York, and it was an amazing 62 degrees yesterday, and it will be close to that again today. (And 34 degrees with snow showers on Tuesday. Winter ain't done yet.)

The position players are now in camp, and the first spring training games are still two weeks from tomorrow. Nothing earth shaking to report. Most baseball news of any kind of import seem to center around the Mets financial problems and Albert Pujols' outrageous contract demands. (Does he really think anyone is going to pony up $300 million for 10 years? The Red Sox and Yankees both have first basemen, Mr. Poo Holes.)

Sad week for celebrity passings, as we lost both Franz Liebkind and Uncle Leo.

My sympathies to the families and fans of both Kenneth Mars and Len Lesser.

Thanks for the laughs, gentlemen.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An Overreaction, No?

I was looking at some YouTube videos yesterday, and stumbled across this one. English soccer has a yearly tournament called the FA Cup, and it is the world's oldest soccer knockout tournament. Not only the pros take part but hundreds of amateur teams get a shot at winning the trophy.

The Cup reaches Round 5 this weekend, and the behemoths known as Manchester United were drawn against a squad called Crawley Town, who play in the Conference, which is the fifth division of English football. It's a classic matchup of David vs. Goliath. (And coincidentally, both teams are nicknamed the Red Devils.) Crawley is second in the Conference, and 93 places below ManU in the overall English rankings.

The Crawley club put together a video to support their boys featuring fans of the club. And a lot of controversy erupted when a fan on the right of the following video (wearing a baseball hat) made gestures of an airplane, and an airplane crashing that upset many United supporters. (Back in 1958, eight United players were killed in a plane crash in Germany after a European Cup match.)

After the video hit YouTube, Crawley Town took action, banning the offending fan for life from attending any matches, and now the police are looking to arrest the fan on charges of "suspicion of harassment, alarm and distress." Arrested? Really? That seems like a gross overreaction to me. (And why didn't the video makers catch this? Guess they don't know too much about ManU.) Banning the offender for life from the club's matches sounds like severe enough punishment to me.

Well, judge for yourself. The clip is titled: "Crawley Town FC FA Cup Song, Complete With Scumbag." Remember to look to the right, the guy with the baseball hat:

Trivia Q&A: February 15

It looked like we would have the smallest crowd for Trivia Night in some time on Tuesday night, but fortunately we had some folks come in as we were playing, and had 11 teams take part in total. (My friend Jim had a theory before the night started that we might be suffering from some post-Valentine's Day blues, with many folks staying home. I think he was right.)

The bar was crowded when we completed the night and it got louder and more spirited as the longer it went on. We had a really close race to the finish, with four teams withing three points of each other heading into IQ Trivia. But the team of Happy Birthday Abe and Mike! managed to squeak out the win by just two points, getting a total of 41 points. Nice job getting back to the winner's circle, guys. And a happy birthday to trivia regular Mike as well!

Second place wound up a tie at 39 points between What's Berlusconi's Age Divided By 2 Plus 7 and Snow: Part II The Snow-Quel. So we broke the tie with this tie breaker question: What is the total number of the age of the oldest US president on his last day in office plus the age of the youngest US president on the day he took the oath of office? The answer was 119 (Ronald Reagan was 77 and Teddy Roosevelt was 42.) What Berlusconi's Age nailed it on the nose and got second place.

Best Team Name: What's Berlusconi's Age Divided By 2 Plus 7

Current Events
1. What country's prime minister has been ordered to stand trial on prostitution charges and is facing 15 years in jail if convicted?
2. Evo Morales, president of what South American country, had to abandon an event in the south of his country after protesters threw dynamite at him in protest?
3. Jerry Sloan, the longest tenured coach of any of the 4 major North American sports, resigned last week. What NBA team did he coach for 23 years?
4. What Asian country last Friday directed its embassies to appeal to foreign governments for aid to feed a population close to starvation?
5. Chris Lee, a Republican congressman from what state was forced to resign after it was revealed he emailed a shirtless photo of himself to a woman and it ended up on the internet?
6. For the second straight year, what Republican congressman won the presidential straw poll of the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend with 30% of the vote?
7. What Oscar-winning actor got into a fight with his former manager at an Usher performance in an LA nightclub last Thursday?

Presidential Trivia
1. Who was the last US president elected to two terms who failed to complete the second term?
2. What number president was John F. Kennedy?
3. Who was the only president who did not live in the White House?
4. Who was the shortest US president?
5. Who was the last president born in the 19th century?
6. What 20th century president studied nuclear physics at the Naval Academy at Annapolis?
7. What Elvis Presley tune did Bill Clinton play on the saxophone when he appeared on "The Arsenio Hall Show" in 1992? ( 2 points)

Even Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. This was John F. Kennedy's age at the time of his assassination.
2. This is the number worn by sports Hall of Famers Jim Brown, Sandy Koufax, Magic Johnson and OJ Simpson.
3. The total number found in a score.
4. In a normal deck of cards, there are this number of red cards.
5. In the Bible, this is the number of days between Jesus' resurrection and ascension.
6. Visa bank cards have this many digits.
7. This is the total number of men who have walked on the moon.
8. Most half-hour sitcoms on US TV today are this many minutes with the commercials removed.
9. The second point won in a game of tennis is this number.
10. Mariano Rivera is the only player to wear this number in professional baseball, as it has been permanently retired.

General Knowledge
1. What country had an "Islamic Revolution" in 1979? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the smallest ocean in the world? ( 1 pt)
3. American pilot Francis Gary Powers was once captured as a spy by what country? ( 1 pt)
4. What is the official summer sport of Canada? ( 2 pt)
5. What is Aurora Borealis more commonly known as? ( 2 pt)
6. Acrophobia is the fear of what? ( 2 pt)
7. In what venue were chariot races held in Ancient Rome? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Which of the following is heaviest: an NFL football, an MLB baseball, an NBA basketball or an NHL hockey puck? ( 3 points)
2. What R&B star was anointed "The Godson of Soul" by James Brown at the 2005 Grammy Awards after they did a duet together? ( 4 points)
3. The Saffir-Simpson Scale measures the intensity of what? ( 5 points)
4. What animal has the strongest bite of any known living creature? ( 4 points)
5. What southern US city is the largest city in area in the contiguous 48 states? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Italy; 2. Bolivia; 3. Utah Jazz; 4. North Korea; 5. New York; 6. Ron Paul; 7. Jamie Foxx.

Presidential Trivia
1. Richard Nixon; 2. thirty-five; 3. George Washington; 4. James Madison (5'4"); 5. Dwight D. Eisenhower; 6. Jimmy Carter; 7. "Heartbreak Hotel."

Even Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 46; 2. 32; 3. 20; 4. 26; 5. 40; 6. 16; 7. 12; 8. 22; 9. 30; 10. 42.

General Knowledge
1. Iran; 2. Arctic; 3. Soviet Union; 4. lacrosse; 5. Northern Lights; 6. heights; 7. Circus Maximus.

IQ Trivia
1. NBA basketball; 2. Usher; 3. hurricanes; 4. Great white shark; 5. Jacksonville, FL.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Cool Fenway E-Guide

I was recently contacted by a baseball fan named Kurt Smith, who has written an e-guide to Fenway Park.

Officially called "Ballpark E-Guides: Fenway Park," Kurt has written a terrific guide to America's Most Beloved Ballpark, and he's really done his homework as well. It is well-researched, and especially helpful if you are a Red Sox fan and have never been to Fenway Park. He covers just about every cost imaginable to going to a game, from all ticket prices (and where to get those tickets), how to get there, finding a place to stay, parking, the best seats in Fenway, etc. He also provides a section called "Tightwad Tips," some unique ways to save a little cash as well.

Kurt writes his guide with lots of good humor, too, and definitely from a common man's perspective.

Kurt also has a section about the establishments around Fenway, and even goes into great detail about the food of Fenway.

Kurt has written many E-Guides for other parks, like Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. I definitely recommend "Fenway Park" to you, especially if you have never been to Fenway and are planning to go to a game in 2011. It is 25 pages long and goes for just $5. It can be an invaluable resource for your trip to the great Fens, whether it's your 20th time or your initial visit there.

Here is the link to the E-Guides web site, and to Fenway in particular.

Monday, February 14, 2011


On this day, a simple, beautiful song from John Lennon sums it all up.

We Hail The Chiefs On Tuesday Night

This Tuesday night, we'll have as our Special Category "Presidential Trivia," in honor of Presidents Day, which will be next Monday. We will have seven questions about those men who have occupied the White House, with the last question being a special two point question.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Even Numbered Trivia." It will be ten questions where the answer will be a number between 1 and 50. (OK, 2 and 50.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What country had an "Islamic Revolution" in 1979?

We will get going at the usual time of approximately 9 PM. I hope to see many of you come out for a great night of Trivia on Tuesday.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fresh Air Is Good For You

My friends at the Fresh Air Fund are looking for runners to compete in the New York City Half Marathon, which will be held on March 20th. They are some good folks doing some very good work for the youth of New York City.

Please check out this link if you'd like to take part.

They are also looking for host families to sponsor low income children this summer and help them out and give them a vacation they'll never forget. Please go here if you'd like to sponsor a child this summer.

Welcome to Florida

The weather's getting better, the dirty snow on the street's finally melting, and pitchers and catchers reported to Ft. Myers today for the Red Sox.

The first workouts will be held on Tuesday, and the position players will report this coming weekend. The first Grapefruit League game won't be played for another couple of weeks (February 26th to be exact, against the college kids from Boston College and Northeastern.)

But there's light at the end of this snow-covered tunnel.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Quirky Little Film

Last night I had the pleasure to attend a viewing of the new movie "Certifiably Jonathan" at the Quad Cinema in Manhattan. I had heard so much about the making of the film from my good friend Matt Fortnow, who was an executive producer on the project, as it was conceived back in 2003.

It's about the legendary comedian Jonathan Winters. Director Jim Pasternak conceived a documentary about him after meeting Jonathan and seeing some of his art work, which has been one of Jonathan's lifelong passions.

The movie begins as a documentary, but it evolves into a "mockumentary" in the "This Is Spinal Tap" sort of way. (A man who saw the film before us made that same comparison after seeing it, and absolutely loved the movie.) Jonathan is commissioned to do three paintings for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, but disaster strikes, as one of his most beloved paintings is stolen out of a gallery in L.A., and he loses his sense of humor and can't paint.

So the hunt is on getting it back. And Jonathan takes us on quite a ride.

Many comedians and fans of Jonathan make cameo appearances, like Robert Klein (who spoke at the Q&A live after the film), Robin Williams, Jimmy Kimmel, and Tim Conway. It was also a pleasure to see some old clips of Jonathan on the Jack Paar Show, and an appearance by him and his family with Edward R. Murrow back in the late 1950s.

The film is a loving tribute "through the surreal mind of a comedy legend" and the filmmakers explained afterwards that it was Jonathan's idea to go the route they did. The movie has received lukewarm reviews so far, but don't let that stop you from seeing the film. I enjoyed the movie, and I'm sure Jonathan's loyal following will, too. It will be playing at the Quad, which is on West 13th Street in Manhattan, until next Thursday.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Don't Mess With The Babe

Another fine article from Hauls of Shame recently went up about the crumbling reputation of the late Barry Halper, and this one is about what appears to be a fake Babe Ruth autograph (pictured) on his famous "500 Home Runs Sheet," which includes the autographs of many of those players who reached the famous plateau (up until Reggie Jackson).

This article is quite interesting to read, especially Halper trying to get Jackson to sign the sheet in 1984.

Pete Nash continues some excellent work exposing the frauds that have been pervasive in the collectibles industry of baseball.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

"Certifiably Jonathan" Opens This Friday

A good friend of mine, Matt Fortnow, has been working on a project for six years that is finally coming to fruition called "Certifiably Jonathan", which is a film taking its audience on "a surreal trip through the mind of a comedy legend", namely that of the great Jonathan Winters.

The film also features such comedy stars as Jimmy Kimmel, Tim Conway, Howie Mandel and Rob Reiner.

I've been looking forward to seeing the film, which is released this Friday. I will be going to a screening on Friday at the Quad Cinemas in Manhattan, at 34 West 13th Street, and it will be there for a one week run, and I will of course be talking about it here on my blog after I see it.

(BTW, my pal Matt is still the only person I have ever known who was confident the Red Sox would come back after being down 0-3 to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS to win.)

Here's more on the film at its official web site.

And here is the film's trailer:

BTW, did you know that many of Jonathan's fans have been trying to get NBC to have him host Saturday Night Live? Well, now you do. It's been gaining steam on Facebook. They are also having a rally at NBC in Rockefeller Center later today at 4 PM to promote the cause.

Thanks for all the laughs, Mr. Winters.

Trivia Q&A: February 8

We had another fine turnout on a really cold night in Manhattan, with 18 teams coming for the Trivia. It was close all night, with some very high scores for the Grammy Winners Trivia. But they were brought down a bit by General Knowledge, as the most anyone got in that round was 9 of 12. (And few people remembered that England ran Florida until 1783.)

We had a rare event: three teams tied for the lead going into IQ Trivia. But one of those teams, 10 In Your Hand Is Better than 4 In Her Bush, got four of the five correct and wound up a two point winner. Second place went to Mubarak Mu'Problems with 52 points and third Cairo Let 'Em Go with 47.

It was the first win for the team of my friends Bob and Peter, and their friend Carey. Nice job guys.

Best Team Name: We May Not Win But At Least We Are Not The Cleveland Cavaliers

Current Events
1. Elton John, in the latest edition of Rolling Stone, said that this friend and fellow musician needs more rehab for his alcohol problems and that in his past rehab he "got off light."
2. What coach won the NFL Coach of the Year for 2010 for the third time in his career last week?
3. What Grammy award and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award winner will be performing live on the Grammy Awards ceremony for the first time next week, but without his band?
4. Two people were killed and over 200 injured during celebrations in what world capital city to welcome the Lunar New Year last Thursday?
5. What female R&B singer's current video has now been banned in 11 countries, flagged by YouTube and edited down by MTV over its' racy content?
6. John Barry, and English-born Oscar winning composer, died last week at the age of 77. What series of films was he best known for doing the score for?
7. What digital media giant acquired the web site The Huffington Post for $315 million earlier this week?

Q Are You?
1. This man was born in Thunder Bay, ONT in 1949. He's a musician, actor, author and comedian. He's released two solo albums and played on many recording artist's albums. He's been a musical director and was also the first person to say the "F" word on "Saturday Night Live."
2. This woman was born in Heworth, England in 1934. She is one of the most respected actresses of her generation. She's won an Academy Award, a Tony, 2 SAG awards and she 's best known for appearing in many of the James Bond films.
3. This man was born in Bridgeport, CT in 1977. He is a musician and songwriter, with his first two albums, released earlier in the last decade, going multi-platinum. He's won 7 Grammys, including 2005's Song of the Year.
4. This man was born in Exeter, NH in 1964. He began his career pursuing a career in Hollywood and music in the early 1990s, even releasing a CD of his music. But he turned his attention to writing thriller novels and two of them were runaway hits and were adapted into controversial films in the 2000s.
5. This man was born in Cedar Rapids, IA in 1978. He's an actor, producer and former fashion model. he's best known for a Fox sitcom he starred on, a cable show he produced and hosted. He's currently producing a reality show, "Beauty and The Geek."
6. This woman was born in Boston, MA in 1929. She's an author and broadcast journalist. She was the first co-anchor of a network evening news program and she's hosted morning TV shows and a TV newsmagazine in her storied career.
7. This man was born in Houston, TX in 1981. He's a 4-time MLB All-Star and 4-time stolen base leader who tied the MLB record for steals in a game with 6 in 2009. he's now best known for signing the largest free agent deal ever for an outfielder this off-season.

In Q's iPod: Grammy Winners Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Bridge Over Troubled Water--Simon and Garfunkel
2. Just the Way You Are--Billy Joel
3. What a Fool Believes--The Doobie Brothers
4. What's Love Got to Do With It--Tina Turner
5. Streets of Philadelphia--Bruce Springsteen
6. Smooth--Santana
7. Change the World--Eric Clapton
8. Beautiful Day--U2
9. I Will Always Love You--Whitney Houston
10. Graceland--Paul Simon

General Knowledge
1. What is considered to be the largest river in the world? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the study of plant life called? ( 1 pt)
3. What European nation had control of Florida from 1763-83? ( 1 pt)
4. In 1824, the Goodrich company first introduced what foul weather item to the general public? ( 2 pt)
5. In what midwestern US state was Thomas Edison born? ( 2 pt)
6. In "Star Trek," what color was Mr. Spock's blood? ( 2 pt)
7. What month in the US has the highest birth rate? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What political figure did Arthur Bremer shoot at a Maryland political rally in 1972? ( 4 points)
2. Lyssa is another name for what disease? ( 4 points)
3. Henry Gondorff and Johnny Hooker were the two main characters in what classic film that won seven Oscars? ( 4 points)
4. What European country was attacked by the Russians in 1939, fought for the Germans after 1941, and was again defeated by the Russians in 1945? ( 3 points)
5. What food business tycoon started his empire out of gas station in 1930? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. Billy Joel; 2. Bill Belichick; 3. Mick Jagger; 4. Beijing; 5. Rhianna; 6. James Bond; 7. AOL.

Q Are You?
1. Paul Shaffer; 2. Judi Dench; 3. John Mayer; 4. Dan Brown; 5. Ashton Kutcher; 6. Barbara Walters; 7. Carl Crawford.

General Knowledge
1. Nile; 2. botany; 3. England; 4. galoshes; 5. Ohio; 6. green; 7. August.

IQ Trivia
1. George Wallace; 2. rabies; 3. "The Sting"; 4. Finland; 5. Colonel Harlan Sanders.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A Blessed Truck Day To You All

Amid all the snow and cold of this depressing winter, a little light at the end of the tunnel has arrived.

Today is Truck Day. It leaves from Fenway Park with all the gear at noon today.

Baseball for 2011 is officially under way.

Thank goodness.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Any Excuse To Play Music On Trivia Night

This Tuesday night's Special Category for Trivia Night will be the February edition of "Q Are You?" where I give all of you clues to the identity of a current celebrity and you have to tell me just who I'm talking about.

The Q Train lightning round will be "In Q's iPod: Grammy Winners Trivia," as the Grammy Awards will be held this coming Sunday night. (Not that I'll be watching or anything. But it's a good excuse to have our audio round this week.) It will be snippets of ten songs that have won either Song of the Year or Record of the Year. I will ask you for both artist and song title, so the category will be worth 20 points instead of just 10.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What is considered to be the longest river in the world?

We get going at 9 PM on Tuesday night. Yes, we are having some more rotten weather on Tuesday, but I've heard nothing about snow accumulating. So I hope you can make it out and enjoy all the fun on Tuesday night.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

I'm Proud

Yes, I am tonight. Why?

Because on Sunday afternoon, I did not watch one single, solitary second of that Super Bowl pregame show. (Didn't it start at 6 AM or something?) I turned on the game just as the kickoff happened, so I missed Christina Aguilera butchering the National Anthem.

I also did not watch one single, solitary second of that miserable halftime show. I instead watched one of my favorite "Married With Children" episodes on my DVR, when Al Bundy (pictured) is visited by aliens and saves the world. (Unless somehow they can find a way to get the Beatles back together on a stage, I pass on the halftime show.)

I am also very proud because I did not watch one single, solitary commercial while the game was on. It made me appreciate the fact that when God invented television, He had the foresight to include remote controls as well. Hell, 75% of those commercials will never be seen again, so why bother watching them?

BTW, if you had said to me back in August that an NFC North team would win the Super Bowl this year...OK, I'll stop torturing myself.

Bring on The Truck on Tuesday.

A Lost Tradition I Wish Would Come Back

I miss the great Jonathan Schwartz' "Salute to Baseball," an hour-long tribute he used to do every Super Bowl Sunday on his WNYC New York radio program.

Jonathan's a huge Red Sox fan who was born in New York, and has been a fixture on New York radio for nearly 40 years. At about noon on this day, he would stop playing music on his show and play clips from ordinary baseball games, some Red Sox highlights (and a few lowlights on occasion) and a few baseball songs.

It was a real treat and I can remember as a youngster listening to it with my parents on our kitchen radio. It was a great alternative from the non-stop hype machine that is the Super Bowl.

In 2008, Jonathan ended the tradition, as he felt the "Salute to Baseball" "interfered with the music" they played on WNYC. That was such a shame.

I wish he'd bring it back one of these Super Bowl Sundays. Heck, no one plays a "Salute to Football" during the World Series!

Let me conclude with a great quote from Mr. Schwartz (via The Joy of Sox):

"I firmly believe that the most extraordinary human game is professional baseball, that it is a 12-month endeavor, and it deeply occupies the mind and heart even when not being played."

Amen to that.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Red Sox Add Reyes

No, not Jose Reyes, but Dennys Reyes, the 33-year-old hefty reliever from Mexico who has pitched for just about everyone: Dodgers, Reds, Rangers, Rockies, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Royals, Padres, Twins and Cardinals.

Team number 11 could be the Red Sox, as they signed him to a minor league deal.

If you're a lefty reliever, you can find work just about anywhere.

And another interesting article from Hauls of Shame about how the Hall of Fame may have been complicit in crimes involving stolen photos and letters.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Whatever Happened To This Commercial?

Last August I did a commercial for AT&T with about 200 other extras on Staten Island, at the Yankees single A affiliate ballpark. It was a commercial that featured two Yankee players: the newly-retired Andy Pettitte, and Nick Swisher.

I had to pose as a Yankee fan, which was a humiliating experience to say the least, but a job is a job. (I wore my 2004 World Champions shirt underneath my regular shirt, and I surprised some of my background actor friends after the shoot by showing them they had a spy in their presence the whole day.)

The shoot was actually pretty cool, and Swisher was friendly to everyone he came in contact with. Waived to all the fans, signed autographs, and had a great time it seemed. (Pettitte didn't seem as enamored with the process.)

With Pettitte retiring on Friday, it got me to thinking about that commercial again. It was filmed just about six months ago (it was August 5th) and I have never seen it anywhere. It looked like a high profile thing, and there was even a second commercial filming after the one I was a part of at the park, a Nike commercial with Robinson Cano (which I have seen a number of times).

I did some checking at YouTube, but only found this clip taken by a fellow actor, with scenes of the filming (and no, I don't turn up in any of them):

It makes me wonder if AT&T canned the commercial.

Well, at least I got paid for it.

Taco Boy Shocks Admitted HGH User

There is no joy in Yankeeland today, as Andy Pettitte has officially called it a 16-year career. Now the debate starts about whether he's heading into the Hall of Fame or not. Remember he made an admission a few years back that will surely come back to haunt him when he's first eligible in 2016...

In honor of his calling it a career, here's one of my favorite Pettitte moments, at Fenway Park on April 26, 2009, taken by a Red Sox fan sitting just off home plate toward third base. I'll never forget how incensed Mike Francesa was on WFAN the next day:

With thanks to my friend and fellow Red Sox fan Jim Monaghan for bringing the clip to my attention.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Happy 71st, Fran

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite all-time athletes, Fran Tarkenton. He is a big reason why I became a Minnesota Vikings fan in my youth. He was the NFL MVP in 1975, led the Vikings to three Super Bowls, and retired as the all-time leader in yards passing, completions and touchdowns. He's also still the only QB in history to throw 4 TDs in his debut, in September 1961, a 37-13 Vikings win over the Bears.

But unfortunately he seems to be forgotten these days when they talk about all-time great quarterbacks. If he could have won just ONE Super Bowl...

Here is a YouTube clip of Fran as the #91 Greatest Player in NFL History:

Today is also a somber day in history, as it was the Day The Music Died, 52 years ago, when a plane crash took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. It was immortalized in 1971 by Don McLean:

My Childhood, In Seven Minutes

On Wednesday night, I was on Facebook, and Pat Dinizio of The Smithereens, who I am friends with on FB, posted a really terrific clip and it brought back some absolutely wonderful memories for me, and for any us who grew up in New York City in the late 1950s or 1960s.

It is a montage of the shows of WPIX, Channel 11, which has been an independent station for many decades (and still is). They had all kinds of cartoon shows and classic sitcoms, and I watched almost all of them: "The Munsters," "The Odd Couple", "The Honeymooners", "F Troop", "The Little Rascals", "The Three Stooges" and so much more.

Remember Officer Joe Bolton, Bozo the Clown and Captain Jack McCarthy? They are all here in this clip. As are "Magilla Gorilla", "Dick Tracy", "The March of the Wooden Soldiers", "Abbott and Costello" and the six fingers of "Chiller."

It's a great walk down memory lane. Thanks for posting the clip, Pat.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Cursed To Obsess Over Curses

When are these dimwit Yankee fans going to let stupid nonsense like "curses" go?

Probably never. Talk about being obsessed.

Some schmuck named Sam Cook (I bet he can't sing a lick) wrote an article for something called in Ft. Myers, FL saying that since the Red Sox are moving to a new facility for Spring Training in Lee County in 2012, they will be under a new "curse." (Or the old one will return. Logic isn't Cook's strong point in this article.)

Bloody hell.

Cook quotes Wilbur Smith, who brought the Red Sox to Ft. Myers in 1993:

"The Red Sox better win the World Series this year because after 2011, the curse is back,'' Smith says.

Right, pal.

Cook admits his Yankee fandom from the git go, and Smith just sounds like he's pissed because the Red Sox are leaving his beloved City of Palms Park after 2011.

So naturally these stupid boneheads have to resort to how the "curse is back" unless the Sox drop everything in building their new spring facility and remain where they are. I'm sure John Henry & Co. are just quaking in their boots with the idea how they are tempting fate by moving out of Ft. Myers.

I've said this for years, and I stand by it. YANKEE fans were totally obsessed with all that media-created nonsense before the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. It was a taunting device, and nothing more. And in some circles many are still obsessed with it, and want it back desperately.

And some backwater columnists will write anything for attention.

Trivia Q&A: February 1

On yet another lousy weather evening in New York, we had a really good turnout of folks wanting their Trivia, and 15 teams took part in the festivities. People have to have their Trivia!

We had strong scores throughout the night, especially in General Knowledge, as 10 of the 15 teams got all seven questions right. (Too easy maybe this week?) True or False Trivia were excellent too, as well as Super Bowl Trivia, which I thought might go either way.

We had an amazing six teams separated by just a single point heading into IQ Trivia. But the team of Quiz In My Pants, Again managed to run the table and get all 20 points in the round and wound up winning by four points with 51 total. We had a tie for second place, which we broke with this question: "How many inches of snow were recorded in Central Park in January, a new record for the month?" The answer was 36, and the team of Wake Up Emily! We Need You Here! was closest, with the team of It's Good Thing We're Pretty coming in third. Nice job by all of you.

Best Team Name: Indefinitely In Stephanie

Current Events
1. The Advocate magazine put out a list of "The Gayest Cities in America" and surprisingly picked this northern Midwest city as its number one.
2. What American rock star took a nasty fall off the stage he was performing on in Australia last week and was knocked unconscious for nearly 10 minutes before being briefly hospitalized?
3. What Hollywood superstar actor recently dined with John Gotti Jr. to discuss details of Gotti's late mobster father's life, as he wants to portray his father in an upcoming film?
4. Which NBA team has now overtaken the Los Angeles Lakers and now the most valuable franchise in the league in terms of overall monetary worth?
5. What TV host and Lower Manhattan resident was named to a position on the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum board of directors last week?
6. What movie sequel was nominated for a high of 9 Razzie Awards, which honors the worst films of the year?
7. TNT apologized last Friday after what former SNL comedian made some racy remarks about Sarah Palin on its pregame show?

Super Bowl Trivia
1. What team won the first Super Bowl? a. Green Bay Packers; b. New York Jets; c. Kansas City Chiefs; d. Dallas Cowboys.
2. Which pop singer was selected to sing the National Anthem at this year's Super Bowl? a. John Mayer; b. Kelly Clarkson; c. Justin Bieber; d. Christina Aguilera.
3. Which NFL team has appeared in the most Super Bowls? a. Pittsburgh Steelers; b. Minnesota Vikings; c. Dallas Cowboys; d. New England Patriots.
4. Which of the following musical acts have never appeared in the Super Bowl halftime show? a. Paul McCartney; b. Lady Gaga; c. U2; d. Aerosmith.
5. Which of the following teams have never won a Super Bowl? a. Tampa Bay Bucs; b. Chicago Bears; c. New Orleans Saints; d. Buffalo Bills.
6. How many Super Bowls have been won by the two New York teams, Giants and Jets, combined? a. 3; b. 4; c. 5; d. 6.
7. Who is the only player to win the Super Bowl MVP award three times? a. Tom Brady; b. Terry Bradshaw; c. Joe Montana; d. Bart Starr.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. An Oscar statuette weighs more than the Super Bowl trophy.
2. The sweater worn by Fred Rogers on his PBS show was once put on display in the Smithsonian.
3. Gaul was the ancient name of England.
4. Horse racing is sometmes called "the sport of kings."
5. The earth rotates in the same direction as it orbits the sun.
6. Moroccan leather actually comes from Morocco.
7. Billy Crystal once played a gay character on TV.
8. Mick Jagger attended the London School of Economics.
9. The Cape of Good Hope is at the tip of South America.
10. US presidents William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison were father and son.

General Knowledge
1. In 1794, Eli Whitney was credited with what invention? ( 1 pt)
2. What was the name of the space shuttle that exploded shortly after takeoff in 1986? ( 1 pt)
3. Phillips and Flathead are two different types of what kind of object? ( 1 pt)
4. Croatia and Slovenia were both formerly part of what country? ( 2 pt)
5. In what city was Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated? ( 2 pt)
6. Carlos Slim is the richest man in what country? ( 2 pt)
7. How many vowels are there on the bottom row of a typewriter? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What 1970s sitcom spinoff ran for 253 episodes, 43 more than its Emmy-winning parent sitcom? ( 3 points)
2. What song was heard 250 different ways in a 1994 Ken Burns documentary? ( 4 points)
3. What African nations' Declaration of Independence was signed by 11 men in a Baptist church in 1847? ( 4 points)
4. The 2002 film "Auto Focus" is based on the life and death of what TV and movie actor? ( 4 points)
5. Huntington Avenue Grounds was the original home ballpark for 11 years for what current MLB team? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. Minneapolis; 2. Jimmy Buffett; 3. John Travolta; 4. New York Knicks; 5. Jon Stewart; 6. "Twilight 2: Eclipse;" 7. Tracy Morgan.

Super Bowl Trivia
1. a; 2. d; 3. c; 4. b; 5. d; 6. b; 7. c.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. true; 3. false, France; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, Nigeria; 7. true; 8. true; 9. false, South Africa; 10. false, grandfather and grandson.

General Knowledge
1. cotton gin; 2. Challenger; 3. screwdriver; 4. Yugoslavia; 5. Memphis; 6. Mexico; 7. none.

IQ Trivia
1. "The Jeffersons;" 2. "Take Me Out to the Ballgame;" 3. Liberia; 4. Bob Crane; 5. Boston Red Sox.