Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones: 1945-2012

I was very saddened to hear about the passing of Davy Jones, one of the lead singers for The Monkees, of a heart attack at his Florida home at the age 66.

Like many of you out there, I grew up with the Monkees. I watched "The Monkees" when the show first ran in the late 1960s, but I remember them more when she show went to syndication in the 1970s. They were on every Saturday, and I always watched them. The show was always fun.

The Monkees are proudly in my iPod, and the music is really timeless. Antenna TV shows "The Monkees" every Saturday and Sunday, and I would guess they will show a marathon of shows at some point in Davy's memory.

Here I present Davy doing a cool acoustic version, with Seth Swirsky, of "I Wanna Be Free", from 2010. (With thanks to my friend Jeff Polman for the clip.)

Thanks for all the great music, Davy. Godspeed.

George Was No Fan Of Leap Day

The late, great George Carlin gives his brief thoughts on Leap Day:

Trivia Q&A: February 28

We had another huge crowd in for Trivia on Tuesday night, as 25 teams took part. The crowds continue to be simply amazing, and I thank each and every one of you who make doing Trivia Night such a joy for me.

We had some very good numbers for Leap Day Trivia and True or False Trivia. We had three teams going into IQ Trivia separated by a single point, and it was equally close when IQ Trivia ended. The team in first, J-Lo's Aereolas, held on by getting three of the five correct and won by just one point. Congrats to Dave, Larry, Alex, Paul and Ruth, who captured the win with 43 points.

Second place went to The Bain of Romney's Existence with 42 points, and third place went to Cornelius T. Wintergreen Esq., with 41 points.

Best Team Name: I Got Santorum All Over My Mitt

Current Events
1. Media research company Advertiser perceptions ranked which print magazine recently as "The Strongest Brand" among ad agencies and marketing professionals?
2. Islandia, a "city" of just five people, was officially abolished last week by what southern US state?
3. What eastern US state will become on Thursday the eighth state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage?
4. 51 people were killed and over 700 injured when a train crashed in South American capital city last week?
5. What comic actor set a new record with 11 Razzie Award nominations announced last Saturday, for three bad movies he did in 2011?
6. 44 people were killed in a prison riot in what country last week?
7. What company apologized yesterday for including fortune cookies in its "Taste the Lin-Sanity" frozen yogurt sold at a location in Boston?

Leap Day Trivia
1. On this day in 2004, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in a coup d'etat as president of what country?
2. In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Oscar for her role in what classic film?
3. In 1972, what Hall-of-Fame baseball legend became the first player in MLB to sign a $200,000 per year contract?
4. Actor Dennis Farina was born on this date in 1944. In what classic 1988 comedy did he portray a gangster named Jimmy Serrano?
5. Legendary lawman Pat Garrett died on this day in 1908. What infamous outlaw did he kill in July 1881?
6. In 2004, what film became the third in history to win 11 Academy Awards?
7. On this date in 1956, Aileen Wuornous was born. She would eventually be executed in 2002 for murdering seven men in the 1990s. What 2003 film told her story?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Jousting is the official sport of Maryland.
2. Antarctica is windiest and driest of the seven continents.
3. The New York Yankees were one of the original American League teams in 1901.
4. The governor of Hawaii once received a 30,000 signature petition to change Maui's name to Gilligan's Island.
5. More shoplifters are caught on Sunday than any other day of the week.
6. Smoking damages your body within minutes and not in years as was once believed.
7. December has consistently shown to have the highest suicide rate.
8. Vending machines kill four times more people every year than sharks do.
9. At the 2010 Grammys, Taylor Swift won more Grammys than Elvis Presley did in his entire career.
10. North Dakota is the only US state that borders three Canadian provinces.

General Knowledge
1. The Phantom of the Opera is set in what city? ( 1 pt)
2. Mount Etna is found in what country? ( 1 pt)
3. What is the second largest continent in area after Asia? ( 1 pt)
4. Betty White was nominated for an Emmy award in 2011 for what TV series? ( 2 pt)
5. An otoscope is used for an examination for which part of the human body? ( 2 pt)
6. In what German city did the festival of Oktoberfest originate? ( 2 pt)
7. Great Barrier Island belongs to what country? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Which US government department has had jurisdiction over the National Weather Service since 1940? ( 4 points)
2. Comedian Steve Martin started his career as a writer on what late 1960s TV show? ( 5 points)
3. What is the third largest body of water in the world after the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans? ( 4 points)
4. "Pomp and Circumstance", also known as "The Graduation March," was written by what English composer? ( 4 points)
5. The Maurice J. Tobin Memorial Bridge is located in what major US city? ( 3 points)

Current Events
1. People; 2. Florida; 3. Maryland; 4. Buenos Aires, Argentina; 5. Adam Sandler; 6. Mexico; 7. Ben & Jerry's.

Leap Day Trivia
1. Haiti; 2. "Gone With the Wind;" 3. Hank Aaron; 4. "Midnight Run;" 5. Billy the Kid; 6. "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"; 7. "Monster."

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. true; 3. false, started in the AL in 1903; 4. true; 5. false, Wednesday; 6. true; 7. false, June; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, Montana.

General Knowledge
1. Paris; 2. Italy; 3. Africa; 4. "Hot In Cleveland;" 5. ears; 6. Munich; 7. New Zealand.

IQ Trivia
1. Department of Commerce; 2. "The Smothers Comedy Hour;" 3. Indian Ocean; 4. Edward Elgar; 5. Boston.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Captain 33. Thank You.

Jason Varitek will indeed be calling it a career, and will be doing it on Thursday at JetBlue Park.

Tek calls it a career after 15 seasons, and only Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams and Jim Rice played longer on the Red Sox without playing for another team.

It was clearly time for the Red Sox catcher to call it a career. He will stay on with the club in a capacity that has not yet been announced. I would guess that the Sox will have a day for Tek in 2012, either with or without the also-retiring Tim Wakefield. They should both have their numbers retired as well.

Thank you, Tek, for 2004 and 2007. But thank you especially, for the iconic image shown on this post. No need to explain it, you all know when and where it happened. You'll be seeing a lot of this photo over the next few days.

And that certainly isn't a bad thing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Celebrating Leap Day This Tuesday Night

This Tuesday night, the Special Category will be "Leap Day Trivia," seven questions about February 29th, the day that occurs every four years, and will happen this Wednesday. You'd be surprised that more has occurred on this day than you'd think.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"An otoscope is used for an examination for which part of the human body?"

We will get going shortly after 9 PM. The crowds continue to be huge over the last month, so getting to Thom's as early as you can might be a wise move. Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Finally, Some Hardware On Merseyside

Liverpool won the English League (Carling) Cup for a record eighth time at Wembley, winning 3-2 on penalty licks after a thrilling 2-2 tie after extra time with underdog Championship side Cardiff City.

It was Liverpool's first trophy since their FA Cup Final win over West Ham United in 2006. Here's more on the win from Soccernet.

Hopefully, this is the start of more hardware to come, as Liverpool are in the FA Cup quarterfinals, against Stoke.

The First Six

It was 19 years ago today that the World Trade Center was attacked for the first time, and six innocent people were killed and hundreds injured when a bomb detonated in a parking garage below the buildings.

Say a prayer today for those victims and their families.

May they never be forgotten.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Happy 69th, George

Today would have been the 69th birthday for the late, great George Harrison.

To celebrate the day, here is a really cool YouTube clip from Eric Idle's "Rutland Weekend Television" program, from 1975. George appears as "Pirate Bob", and later as he's about to do "My Sweet Lord" with the band, he breaks into "The Pirate Song." Great stuff. (Neil Innes, who was in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" as one of "Robin's Minstrels" is in this clip.)

BTW, Rutland Weekend Television morphed into "The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash", the great Beatles parody that Eric Idle did in 1978, and George appeared in that as well, as an interviewer named Eric Manchester.

Happy Birthday, George. We miss you:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"The Mets: A 50th Anniversary Celebration"

It's going to be a long year at Citi Field this year. Potentially, a VERY long year. Not a single Mets fan I know has any optimism whatever. It could be a year they drop 100 games. It's reminding me a lot of the darkest era in Mets history, the late 1970s.

If you're a fan of the team and want to escape from the team's travails, I recommend you pick up "The Mets: A 50th Anniversary Celebration," a new hardcover coffee table book chronicling the long, strange trip over the last half-century of the Mets. It was produced by the New York Daily News (and features many News headlines over the years involving the club).

The book was written by News sportswriters Andy Martino and Anthony McCarron. The book is divided by the decades, discusses every season and it makes for some fascinating reading, with great inside stories of the team. It features the heroes (Tom Seaver, Gil Hodges, etc.), the villains (M. Donald Grant) and the heroes who became villains (Fred Wilpon). Ron Darling does a terrific forward to the book.

I grew up with the Mets, and we were both born in the same year. Even though I am a dedicated Red Sox fan, the Mets will forever hold a special place in my heart. The first MLB game I ever saw was at Shea Stadium in 1968, and the book brings back the memories I have of Shea so clear.

The book has every facet of Mets history covered, from their birth after the tragic loss of the city's two beloved National League teams, the two World Series championships, the decline and rise in the late 1990s, to the end of Shea and the start of Citi Field.

If you know a devoted Mets fan, you know he or she is going through some tough times with their beloved team. But "The Mets: A 50th Anniversary Celebration" is a terrific walk down memory lane for them, and it will get their minds off what's transpiring now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Trivia Q&A: February 21

We had 21 teams in on Tuesday night, and yet another crowded bar enjoying the Trivia. I was joined on the night by my dear friend Renee, who went to grammar school with me about a hundred years ago. It made the night even more special.

The numbers were very good for the first two rounds, but I surprised they weren't as strong for The Q Train, which was "Oscar Winners' Film Trivia." I didn't think I made it that tough. Oh well.

We had two teams who ran the table and had a perfect score in IQ Trivia, and one of those teams, Cornelius T. Wintergreen, came from fourth place after the third round to pull out the win with 51 points. It was their first ever win.

Second place went to The Best Lin Was Freddy Lynn, with 48 points. Third place was a tie between Van Buren Boys and Chris Brown's Favorite Way Into Manhattan? The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel with 46 points.

Best Team Name: Kim Kardashian Wants a Chink In Her Armor

Current Events
1. Harris Interactive recently released its list of the 60 "Most Visible US Companies." Who was number 1?
2. What elderly Oscar-winning actress revealed yesterday that she's suffering from a degenerative eye condition, but insists she's not going blind?
3. Over 380 inmates were killed when a fire broke out in a prison in what Central American country last week?
4. What southern US state's lawmakers are debating a controversial bill dubbed "Don't Say Gay", a law that would ban teachers from discussing homosexuality in classrooms before high school?
5. Christian Wulff resigned as president of what European country last Sunday following allegations of corruption earlier in his political career?
6. Singer Charles Anthony died last week in his Florida home at the age of 82. In what genre of music did Mr. Anthony leave his mark?
7. What cable TV show host canceled two days of his show last week to care for his ailing mother, but returned to TV yesterday?

Oscar Trivia
1. Of all the nominees for this year's Best Picture Oscar, which is the only one that grossed $100 million at the box office in North America? a. The Help; b. Moneyball; c. Midnight In Paris; d. Hugo.
2. True or False: In the late 1950s, the Academy had a rule that anyone who was a Communist could not win an Oscar.
3. An Academy Award weighs approximately how much? a. 2 lbs; b. 8 lbs; c. 12 lbs; d. 17 lbs.
4. Which one of the following actors has won both a Best Actor and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar? a. Al Pacino; b. John Wayne; c. Jack Nicholson; d. Paul Newman.
5. Name 3 of the 4 African-American actors to win a Best Actor Oscar.
6. Which one of the following actresses has won both the Best Actress and a Best Supporting Actress Oscar? a. Jessica Lange; b. Sally Field; c. Kate Winslet; d. Elizabeth Taylor.
7. What is the first and only movie to win Best Picture that was directed by a woman? (3 pt)

Oscar Winners' Films Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Tommy Lee Jones
2. Kim Basinger
3. Jon Voight
4. Gwyneth Paltrow
5. William Hurt
6. Holly Hunter
7. Adrien Brody
8. Natalie Portman
9. Christopher Walken
10. Emma Thompson

General Knowledge
1. What color is the card showing lawful permanent resident status in the United States? ( 1 pt)
2. In the famous fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin could spin straw into what? ( 1 pt)
3. What famous cartoon character uttered the phrase "I Taw a Putty Tat?" ( 1 pt)
4. What California city was the last Pony Express delivery made in? ( 2 pt)
5. What country was kicked out of the Organization of American States in 1962? ( 2 pt)
6. "The Rainbow Warrior" is a ship used by what group? ( 2 pt)
7. What was the former name of the city of Amman, Jordan, which is the current name of a major American city? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" was the first album, released in 1967, by what English classic rock band? ( 4 points)
2. Saul of Tarsus was better known to the world by what other name? ( 3 points)
3. If you were convicted of committing uxoricide, who did you kill? ( 5 points)
4. "Room 237" is a 2012 documentary that looks at the obsessive fans of what 1980s horror film? ( 4 points)
5. Clyde Tolson was the right-hand man and longtime assistant of what famous 20th century American? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Apple; 2. Dame Judi Dench; 3. Honduras; 4. Tennessee; 5. Germany; 6. opera; 7. Stephen Colbert.

Oscar Trivia
1. a; 2. true; 3. b; 4. c; 5. Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, Forest Whitaker; 6. a; 7. Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker" (2009)

Oscar Winners' Films Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The Fugitive; 2. L.A. Confidential; 3. Coming Home; 4. Monster; 5. Kiss of the Spider Woman; 6. The Piano; 7. The Pianist; 8. Black Swan; 9. The Deer Hunter; 10. Howard's End.

General Knowledge
1. green; 2. gold; 3. Tweety; 4. Sacramento; 5. Cuba; 6. Greenpeace; 7. Philadelphia.

IQ Trivia
1. Pink Floyd; 2. St. Paul (Apostle Paul); 3. your wife; 4. "The Shining;" 5. J. Edgar Hoover.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

No, Not THAT Chris Carpenter

The whole Theo Epstein-to-the-Cubs compensation mess has finally concluded, and the Red Sox will receive right-handed pitcher Chris Carpenter from the Cubs as compensation.

No, not the Chris Carpenter you're thinking of. He pitches for the Cardinals and won a championship last season. (BTW, both players are named Christopher John Carpenter. Weird.) Or the "Cris Carpenter" who pitched for the Cardinals from 1988-92. (Boy, this is getting confusing.)

This one is a relief pitcher ten years younger than the Cardinals' current ace, and appeared in ten games and had no record with a 2.79 ERA in his rookie year of 2011.

The trade with the Cubs is officially Carpenter and a player to be named later to the Sox for a player to be named later.

You really didn't think the Sox were getting Matt Garza, did you?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tek AWOL, Probably Retiring

The Red Sox pitchers and catchers all officially reported to Ft. Myers yesterday, but there was one noticeable absence: Jason Varitek.

Speculation is running wild now that Tek will go the same route Tim Wakefield went last Friday: he will shortly announce his retirement from MLB.

And I hope he does. He has an invite to camp on a minor league deal, but the fact that he's not in right now tells me Tek's ready to hang it up.

He might just be waiting for some time to pass after Wake's announcement to make one of his own. We shall see.

Both Josh Beckett and Jon Lester spoke to the media yesterday about the terrible events of last September. Frankly, it's time to move on from 2011 and turn the page. I don't care about "apologies" or "mea culpas." It's a new season and I know the media will harp on this all spring and into the new season. They're the Boston media. They are expected to harp on the Red Sox failures.

My friend Chris Jaffe has another of those cool columns about a player's career highlights at The Hardball Times, and this one is about Tim Wakefield. Check it out here.

How Much Do You Know About Oscar?

This week's two revolving categories will both be on the same subject: Sunday's upcoming Academy Awards. The Special Category will be "Oscar Trivia." (No, not the Oscar pictured here unfortunately. I should do a round of "Odd Couple Trivia" someday.) Seven questions about the Academy Awards and its history, and it will be a mixed bag of questions: multiple-choice, true or false and multi-point questions all in one category.

And the Q Train lightning round will be "Oscar Winners' Movies Trivia." I will give you the names of ten current actors and actresses, and you have to tell me which film they won their Oscar for. (There won't be any multiple Oscar winners.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What country was kicked out of the Organization of American States in 1962?"

We will get started shortly after 9 PM, so I hope to see many of you this coming Tuesday night, as the Academy Awards take center stage at Professor Thom's!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Someone Will Wear 47. No One Will Wear 21.

Pete Abraham had a column at Extra Bases the other day about the numbers the new Red Sox players and coaches will be wearing in Spring Training. Here's the list:

Bobby Valentine 25
Bob McClure 22
Alex Ochoa 36
Jerry Royster 43

New 40-man roster players
Nick Punto 5
Cody Ross 7
Kelly Shoppach 10
Ryan Sweeney 12
Mark Melancon 37
Andrew Bailey 40
Clayton Mortensen 59
Will Middlebrooks 83
Che-Hsuan Lin 85
Drake Britton 87

New non-roster pitchers
Jesse Carlson 58
Aaron Cook 35
Justin Germano 50
Will Inman 79
Doug Mathis 70
Ross Ohlendorf 47
Vicente Padilla 44
Carlos Silva 23
Chorye Spoone 80
Justin Thomas 78
Alex Wilson 89

New non-roster position players
Dan Butler 81
Pedro Ciriaco 77
Alex Hassan 82
Mauro Gomez 72
Josh Kroeger 73
Jason Repko 16
Max St. Pierre 75

Two things struck me about this. They are giving Ross Ohlendorf number 47. You remember the last guy to wear 47 on the Sox, don't you? Somebody named Terry Francona. (I guess they couldn't wait even one year to give it out.)

And still NO ONE wearing 21. I know the Red Sox haven't officially retired the number, and have wanted to give it out. (I remember Jonathan Papelbon saying he was offered the number, but turned down the opportunity. And I also see that the Sox wasted no time giving out his 58 to Jesse Carlson.) Is there still that much respect for Roger Clemens from current players?

The number of the best Red Sox manager in my lifetime is given out as soon as he's left the premises (and to a marginal pitcher at best), but no one has worn 21 since The Texas Con Man, one of the most despised figures in Boston sports history, left.

What's wrong with this picture?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wake Retires

Tim Wakefield will announce his retirement later today in Ft. Myers at a news conference.

One of the classiest guys to ever wear a Red Sox uniform leaves the game after 19 seasons, 17 with the Red Sox, 200 wins (186 with the Sox), 256 strikeouts and a career 4.41 ERA. Wake did everything asked of him as a pitcher and more: starter, middle reliever, mopup man and closer. (He also had 22 saves) He didn't reach the Red Sox career record for wins, as he is third behind Cy Young and Roger Clemens. But that makes no difference really, as the Red Sox should honor the great Wakefield with a day in his honor and retire number 49.

Wake also leaves with two important things: two championship rings. He'll always be One of The 25.

And how much did Wake mean to his teammates? I'll never forget this stirring tribute to him by Mike Timlin after the Red Sox won the World Series in 2007 (from my friend Cyn):

Thank you for 2004 and 2007, Wake. Enjoy your retirement. You've earned it.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Kid

My friend Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times has an excellent column about the career of the late Gary Carter (that still seems so hard to believe).

I never knew that Carter made his MLB debut for the Montreal Expos in September 1974 against the Mets. (And who was the starting pitcher for the Expos that night? The infamous Mike Torrez.)

That and a lot more facts about the career of one MLB's greatest catchers.

Definitely check out this column, it's interesting reading for any Gary Carter fan.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

So Long, Kid

I was saddened to hear that the great Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter lost his battle with brain cancer today. It had been a tough for fight for him and he was just 57.

I'll never forget the night the Mets made the trade for Carter in December 1984. It came out of nowhere, and you knew the Mets were serious about winning when they pulled it off.

My favorite Carter moment was the home run he hit in the 10th inning of Opening Day at Shea in 1985, his first game in a Mets uniform. It won the game, and he was hailed a new Mets hero.

Gary Carter was a great player and good man, with a smile for everyone. My deepest sympathies to his family and friends. Now let's hope the Mets management has the good sense (something that's been in short supply recently) to retire Carter's number 8. In his memory, I present this YouTube clip of Gary doing a Newsday commercial back in 1986. (He was clearly a better ballplayer than actor.)

Rest in peace, Kid.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Trivia Q&A: February 14

We had 16 teams in for Trivia Night, and a lot of the bar was focused on "Linsanity" early on, as there were a few Knicks fans in watching their fourth quarter comeback, topped by Jeremy Lin's three-pointer. There was a good crowd as usual, but a number of folks weren't into playing Trivia. Odd.

Current Events was a tough round, but the scores rebounded in the next two rounds. We had the top three separated by five points heading into IQ Trivia, but the team of Where Do Broken Hearts Go? To Trivia at Professor Thom's wound up winning by a single point, with 45. They led the entire night, and a nice job by Emily and her friends as always.

Second place went to For V-Day, My Honey Gave Me VD wound up with 44 points, and third place went to I Choo-Choo Chose You with 37 points. Interesting that only 2 of the 16 teams that played had any kind of reference to the passing of Whitney Houston, and neither was what you would call "rude."

Best Team Name: Where Do Broken Hearts Go? To Trivia at Professor Thom's

Current Events
1. What US state's legislature approved a bill allowing same-sex marriage last week?
2. What central African country is being sued for illegally squatting in its embassy property in Washington DC after the lease to the building expired earlier this month?
3. What rock legend received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week, the 2,460th to be so honored?
4. Florence Green, a 110-year-old woman from England, died last week. What was the great significance of her passing?
5. A famed portrait of what First Lady, which had hung in a midwestern state's governor's mansion for three decades, was recently proved to be a fraud?
6. An Italian fugitive, who had eluded police for four years, was caught by police in England after he posted a picture of himself on Facebook at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London posing with a wax figure of what famous American?
7. What film won the Best Picture and six other awards at the British Academy Film Awards last Sunday night?

Presidential Trivia
1. Which prestigious US university has the most US presidents as alumni? a. Harvard; b. Yale; c. Virginia; d. West Point.
2. Who is the only US president to be sworn in by a woman? a. Calvin Coolidge; b. Harry Truman; c. Lyndon Johnson; d. Theodore Roosevelt.
3. Which one of the following US presidents was not born in New York State? a. Theodore Roosevelt; b. Millard Fillmore; c. Martin Van Buren; d. Calvin Coolidge.
4. Which president appointed the most number of Supreme Court justices? a. Franklin D. Roosevelt; b. George Washington; c. Thomas Jefferson; d. Abraham Lincoln.
5.Who was the first president born outside the original thirteen colonies? a. James Buchanan; b. US Grant; c. Abraham Lincoln; d. Andrew Johnson.
6. Which president served the shortest term in office? a. James Garfield; b. William Henry Harrison; c. Warren G. Harding; d. Andrew Johnson.
7. Which president served in the House of Representatives after leaving the presidency? a. John Adams; b. William Howard Taft; c. Calvin Coolidge; d. John Quincy Adams.

Valentine's Day True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Women send more Valentine's Day cards than men.
2. Cupid was the son of Aphrodite.
3. Valentine's Day was mentioned in "Hamlet."
4. Al Capone's gang is believed to have been behind the infamous 1929 massacre on Valentine's Day.
5. Valentine's Day is the largest card-sending holiday of the year.
6. 15% of US women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day.
7. February 14th was made the St. Valentine's Day holiday by King Henry VIII.
8. Teachers receive the most Valentine's Day cards.
9. The majority of all American roses are produced in California.
10. The majority of people who but flowers for Valentine's Day are women.

General Knowledge
1. What is the official language of Brazil? ( 1 pt)
2. A fatwa is an edict issued by a leader of what religion? ( 1 pt)
3. What 2006 film did Sacha Baron Cohen portray a journalist from Kazakhstan? ( 1 pt)
4. The Volvo and Saab automakers are based in what European country? ( 2 pt)
5. From what country did Israel take the Golan Heights away during the Six Day War of 1967? ( 2 pt)
6. What city will host the 2016 Summer Olympics? ( 2 pt)
7. What is the smallest country in area in Central America? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. In 2000, who was the first athlete to receive a second Sports Illustrated "Sportsman of the Year" award? ( 4 points)
2. The islands of Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire belong to what country? ( 3 points)
3. On January 21, 2002, what corporation was named "Best Retailer of the Year" for 2001, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection the very next day? ( 4 points)
4. What infamous American figure gave his profession on his business cards as a "secondhand furniture dealer?" ( 4 points)
5. In 1980, what world leader was given the key to the city of Detroit, MI for making a $250,000 donation to save a church in that city? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. Washington; 2. Cameroon; 3. Paul McCartney; 4. Last known WWI veteran; 5. Mary Todd Lincoln; 6. Barack Obama; 7. "The Artist."

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

Valentine's Day True or False ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. true; 3. true; 4. true; 5. false, Christmas; 6. true; 7. false, Henry VII; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, men (73%).

General Knowledge
1. Portuguese; 2. Islam; 3. "Borat;" 4. Sweden; 5. Syria; 6. Rio de Janeiro; 7. El Salvador.

IQ Trivia
1. Tiger Woods; 2. Netherlands; 3. K-Mart; 4. Al Capone; 5. Saddam Hussein.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Great Bob Zupcic

My friend and blogger Jere put up a cool YouTube clip today on his site, A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory, of the great Bob Zupcic. You older Sox fans will remember him as the early '90s Red Sox outfielder and fan favorite. (Bob played with the Sox from 1991-94, and the 1992 team he played on in this clip may very well have been the weakest hitting Sox team in my memory. How weak? Tom Brunansky led the team in home runs with 15. The Sox finished dead last that year under the guidance of Butch Hobson. Yes, I've done my best to forget those years, too.)

This is a cool clip of Bob blasting a game-winning grand slam (the term "walkoff" had not come into the lexicon then, and since I hate it anyway, I won't use it) off Mike Henneman of the Detroit Tigers in 1992. What also struck me about this part of the clip was the reaction of the Red Sox players as Bob reaches the plate. They congratulate him, and there is none of that "we just won the World Series" crap that goes on today after someone gets a hit to win a game in the ninth inning. No one with any shaving cream in this clip.

And in the second part of the clip, Bob robs Mickey Tettleton of a home run, reaching into the Red Sox bullpen to pull it in. (When I saw that Tettleton hit it off number 49, my first thought was Tim Wakefield, but Timmy was in Pittsburgh at the time. That 49 was the immortal Paul Quantrill, who a dozen years later gave up one of the most famous home runs in Fenway history, to David Ortiz in the 2004 ALCS Game 4. However, Quantrill will NOT be the answer to the question, "Who wore 49 before Tim Wakefield?" That goes to somebody named Mike Hartley. No, I don't remember him either.)


A Happy Valentine's Day To You All

And if he wins a championship in Boston, do we start referring to him as "St. Valentine?"

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Most Successful Musician & Composer In Pop Music History

My friend Adam put up an interesting post on Facebook this morning, and it was about how many folks (mostly of them young and of the teenage variety) wrote on Twitter last night, after seeing Paul McCartney close out the Grammy Awards, were wondering: "Who is Paul McCartney?"

That makes me shake my head.

And it's an even more damning indictment of the current state that pop music is in. I don't watch the Grammy Awards, as I've always detested them. Most of the award winners can't put two words together, and I can find better ways of spending an evening. (Like doing laundry and watching "The Debt", a terrific Helen Mirren film, as I did last night.)

Here is more about it, and you can take a look at some of the actual Tweets at Buzzfeed. Thanks also to Ned Hepburn for the original article.

And to those Twitters who are still wondering, the title of this post is who Paul McCartney is, according to Guinness Book of World Records.

Adam summed it best on FB:
"Let's just throw in the towel now. Society is f***ed."

Presidents and Valentines This Tuesday

This Tuesday night's Special Category for Trivia Night will be "Presidential Trivia", in honor of next Monday's Presidents Day holiday. It will be seven questions about the men who have held the highest office in this land. It was also be multiple choice.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Valentine's Day True or False." It will be ten statements connected to Tuesday's holiday, and you have to tell me if they are real or not.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The Volvo and Saab automakers are based in what European country?"

We get going shortly after 9 PM tomorrow night. The crowds have been really amazing over the last three weeks, so make sure to get in early enough to get a prime table!

A Perfect Nine-For-Nine

Throughout this winter, I thought the 2012 contract for David Ortiz was simple. He wanted $16.5 million, and the Red Sox offered $12.65 million. Just split the difference and both sides could avoid arbitration.

And that's just what they did.

In the final hours before both sides were heading to the arbitration table, Ortiz and the Sox agreed to a one-year, $14.575 million deal. Papi was looking for a multi-year deal, but that didn't happen.

The Red Sox record of avoiding arbitration remains intact, as all nine players who were arbitration-eligible all reached deals with the club. The last Red Sox player that went to arbitration was the immortal Rolando Arrojo, a case the Red Sox won in 2002.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The First Sign Of Spring: The Truck's On The Way

Happy Truck Day To You All!

Pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Myers a week from tomorrow.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Lots Of Baseball To See In March

The Red Sox released their TV schedule for this spring's slate of games, and here's what we can look forward to (with thanks to Extra Bases):

NESN’s 2012 Red Sox Spring Training Game Schedule
March 3: Boston College, 7 p.m.
March 4: Minnesota, 1:30 p.m.
March 5: at Minnesota, 7 p.m.
March 9: Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
March 10: Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
March 11: at Baltimore, 7 p.m.
March 18: at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
March 20: Toronto, 7 p.m.
March 22: New York Yankees, 7 p.m.
March 24: Philadelphia, 1:30 p.m.
March 25: at Toronto, 1 p.m.
April 1: Minnesota, 1:30 p.m.

ESPN and the MLB Network will be showing games as well, so there should be even more Red Sox baseball to see in March.

The Red Sox signed Alfredo Aceves to a one-year deal earlier this week, and now just David Ortiz remains the lone arbitration case. That is scheduled for Monday, but he and the team are still talking about a two-year deal, and that could still happen. The Red Sox have not had an arbitration case since 2002.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Trivia Q&A: February 7

We had another huge crowd in the bar for Trivia on Tuesday night. Again, nothing special was happening sports-wise, but people have to have their Trivia, and 21 teams took part.

The numbers were rather low for Beatles Trivia, and I really don't think I made it that difficult. (Then again, I'm a Beatles fanatic, so perhaps I did.) We also had a rare occurrence on the night: not one of the teams got a perfect score in any of the 5 categories all night.

Only two teams got as many as three of five correct in the IQ Trivia, and one of them, Tastes Like Chicken, went from fourth place to first and won the night, with 37 points, just one ahead of second place Your Mother's a Whore, Lourdes! Third place went to Is That a Caucus In Your Pocket or Are You Having an Election with 34 points.

Best Team Name: I Came Because I Saw My Picture In The New York Times. Wait, They Serve Trivia Here, Too?

Current Events
1. 74 people were killed and hundreds were injured during a soccer stadium riot in what country last Wednesday?
2. Which major airline said last week they will be seeking to cut costs and may cut as many as 15,000 jobs in 2012?
3. What pro golfer won a lawsuit last week against a Canadian Internet provider to obtain the identity of a person who posted "highly defamatory" comments about him?
4. Comedienne Roseanne Barr announced they she officially registered with the Federal Election Commission to run for the 2012 presidential nomination of what third party?
5. 11 people were hurt when a massive crowd of 50,000 flooded the streets of Indianapolis to see a pre-Super Bowl concert by what rock band?
6. What onetime world leader unveiled a two-volume, 1000-page memoir about his life this past weekend?
7. The US closed its embassy and pulled all of its diplomats out of what violence-wracked country on Monday?

Beatles Trivia
1. Which of the Beatles authored the books "In His Own Write" and "A Spaniard In The Works?"
2. What was the only Beatles album to win the Grammy Award for Best Album?
3. Who was the last of the Beatles to join the group, in 1962?
4. After the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, they did there first ever US concert two days later in what US city?
5. What 1964 Beatles single sold over 5 million copies in the US by 1968, making it the best-selling single of the decade of the 1960s?
6. What superstar British guitarist did a solo on guitar on the Beatles song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps?"
7. What Beatles song has been covered over 1600 times by other artists making it one of the most recorded songs in pop music history?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The toothbrush was invented in the 15th century.
2. Michael Jackson once owned the rights to South Carolina's state anthem.
3. In ancient China, people committed suicide by eating a pound of flesh.
4. Pocahontas once appeared on the back of the $20 bill.
5. About 70% of the earth's surface is water.
6. Drinking alcohol raises the body temperature during cold weather.
7. Prince Charles and Prince William never travel on the same plane together, just in case there is a crash.
8. The first Harley-Davidson motorcycle used a tomato can for a carburetor.
9. According to the UN Charter, a US citizen cannot hold the position of Secretary-General.
10. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is as wide as it is tall.

General Knowledge
1. How many yards are there in a mile? ( 1 pt)
2. Prague is the capital of what Eastern European country? ( 1 pt)
3. Who was the first person to score a perfect ten in an Olympic event? ( 1 pt)
4. What is the minimum age for a person to serve in the US Senate? ( 2 pt)
5. Phloem bundles are found inside what fruit? ( 2 pt)
6. In what country was a search engine called "Goojje" launched in 2010? ( 2 pt)
7. "Fell On Black Days" was a 1994 hit song for what rock band? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The last two letters of which state's name are the same as the official US Postal Service abbreviation? ( 3 points)
2. The mayor of what US city was killed during an assassination attempt at newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933? ( 4 points)
3. How many times was soap opera star Susan Lucci nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award before she finally won? ( 4 points)
4. In 1964, who was the first commoner featured on a British postage stamp? ( 5 points)
5. In what US city is there a full-size replica of the Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus' flagship? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Egypt; 2. American Airlines; 3. Phil Mickelson; 4. Green Party; 5. LMFAO; 6. Fidel Castro; 7. Syria.

Beatles Trivia
1. John Lennon; 2. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band;" 3. Ringo Starr; 4. Washington DC; 5. "I Want to Hold Your Hand;" 6. Eric Clapton; 7. "Yesterday."

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

General Knowledge
1. 1760; 2. Czech Republic; 3. Nadia Comaneci; 4. thirty; 5. bananas; 6. China; 7. Soundgarden.

IQ Trivia
1. Kentucky (KY); 2. Chicago (Anton Cermak); 3. nineteen; 4. William Shakespeare; 5. Columbus, OH.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The First World Series MVP I've Ever Met

On Monday night, I went to Foley's Bar and Restaurant in midtown Manhattan, on the 8th anniversary of that fine establishment's 8th anniversary. I am friendly with John Mooney, one of the bar's big wheels.

Sean Casey came in as guest bartender, along with former pitcher Jeff Nelson. The party also was a benefit for Sean's foundation, Casey's Clubhouse.

Sean walked in at 7:30 after his gig that night on the MLB Network, and he brought along 2007 World Series MVP Mike Lowell along with him, as he is also doing a part-time gig there as well.

I had the great pleasure of meeting both former players. Sean really is the nicest guy ever to play Major League Baseball! And I spent about ten minutes chatting with Mike and John (he introduced me to Mike as "The Lt. Governor of Red Sox Nation here in New York"). Really nice man Mr. Lowell is. I, of course, thanked him for 2007 and he smiled. We talked about his playing in Boston (he loved it) and playing in Miami (he talked about how the crowds were mostly bigger on the road than at home).

And all I could think of while talking to Mike was my friend Dorothy, one of Professor Thom's waitresses, who is probably his biggest fan. (I didn't have her phone number, otherwise I would have called her and invited her down.)

As we were wrapping up our conversation, some wiseass Yankee fan walking past me, looked at my Red Sox hat and said "high school team" (whatever that means). And I shot back with "How dare you say that in front of 2007 World Series MVP Mike Lowell!" He looked at Mike with a bit of a surprised look and Mike laughed.

It was a memorable night on Monday, and I want to thank John and all the good folks at Foley's, especially for the picture of me and Mike.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Fabulous Fab Four Trivia This Week

On Tuesday night, we will have "Beatles Trivia," seven questions about the rock group that wiped clean and redrew the face of pop music and made their American debut 48 years ago on Tuesday, as the Special Category. Tomorrow is also the release of Paul McCartney's new album, "Kisses On The Bottom," as well.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Phloem bundles are found inside what fruit?"

We get going right after 9 PM. We've had some huge crowds the past two weeks, so you'd better get Thom's early to get a choice table! See you all on Tuesday night.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

One Chris Gets In, Another Cris Still Waits

The NFL announced its Hall of Fame class for 2012, and the great Vikings LB/DE Chris Doleman was among those selected for pro football's highest honor.

Doleman, who started out as a linebacker but was eventually moved to defensive end, played for the team from 1985-1993, and also played for Atlanta and San Francisco. Six players were named, and the others are Jack Butler, Cortez Kennedy, Dermontti Dawson, Curtis Martin and Willie Roaf.

Here's more from

While I'm happy for Doleman, who was always an underrated player in his Vikings days, the great Cris Carter was passed over yet again. Take a look at these numbers and tell me Carter doesn't belong. A continuing travesty.

And don't get me started as to why the great Purple People Eater Jim Marshall still doesn't have a bust in Canton.

Anyway, congratulations to Chris Doleman and the other five enshrinees, who will be inducted this August.

Friday, February 03, 2012

What, No Mention Of My Trivia Night?

The New York Times today has an article about Professor Thom's and the upcoming Super Bowl. The Times reporter was in the bar last Tuesday night, as my Trivia Night was going on. He was taking pictures of the bar, the Trivia folks and even me as I was doing the Trivia.

And there's not a mention of Trivia Night anywhere in the article. Very disappointing.

But the picture here is of some of my Trivia regulars. OK, not a total loss. Here's the article.

Also, my friend Pete Nash has an interesting new article up at Hauls of Shame about an auction house in Dallas that is selling a 19th century baseball contract that was stolen out of the New York Public Library, and that the late Barry Halper was behind a heist of items stolen from that very institution.

And a very Happy 60th Birthday to the great Fred Lynn:

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Trivia Q&A: January 31

We had another banner night of Trivia at Professor Thom's on Tuesday night: 24 teams in. (That makes 52 in the last two weeks. Wow.) Once again, there was nothing special going on in the bar. There were both Celtics and Bruins games going on, but neither was that special. (Both won however.) It was just a lot of folks who wanted to play Trivia, and I am grateful for that!

We had some good scores for Florida Trivia and Super Bowl Trivia. (Although I messed the question about the largest island in the Florida Keys. It is actually Key Largo. I had it as Key West, as I made a mistake in double-checking the question. Yes, the Mighty Quinn goofs up on occasion.) It was pretty close all night, but the team of Desmond Howard's Mother Probably Has a Different Last Name came from fifth place in the third round to have two excellent rounds in General Knowledge and IQ Trivia to win by two points, getting 45 in total. A nice win by Ivy League friends, who had not been at Trivia Night in many months.

Second place went to Gronk Dates Porn Stars Because He Doesn't Fit In The Average Woman with 43 points, and third place went to Beam Me Up, Newt with 37 points.

Current Events
1. What country music star won a lawsuit against a hospital in Oklahoma last week after they didn't build a wing to the hospital with money he donated in his mother's name?
2. Travel and Leisure magazine selected what major US city as "The Rudest City in America?"
3. Meryl Streep was nominated for Best Actress for "The Iron Lady" last week and set a new record for Oscar nominations with a total of how many?
4. The embattled president of what Middle Eastern country arrived in the United States for medical treatment last week?
5. It was revealed that more than 35 pounds of cocaine was shipped from Mexico City to what famous New York City location inside some hallowed-out books earlier this month?
6. The music company that owns the rights to the 1982 hit song "Eye of the Tiger" is suing which presidential candidate for using the song at rallies without their permission?
7. What Hollywood actress was taken to the hospital this past weekend and is now seeking professional help "to treat her exhaustion and improve her overall health?"

Florida Trivia
1. What FLA city is the oldest European settlement in North America?
2. Which FLA port city was the busiest military port in the USA during the 1991 Gulf War?
3. Name 1 of the 2 MLB teams that train during Spring Training in Fort Myers, FLA.
4. What drink was first developed at the University of FLA in the 1960s?
5. Within 5, how many US House of Representatives members does FLA have?
6. Which is the largest island in the Florida Keys?
7. Which Spanish explorer is credited with being the first European to set foot in FLA in 1513?

Super Bowl Trivia
1. Between the Patriots and Giants, how many total Super Bowls have they won?
2. Who is the only team to appear in four consecutive Super Bowls?
3. Who is the only team to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice?
4. How many Super Bowls have the Philadelphia Eagles won in their history?
5. In what city was the first Super Bowl played in?
6. What city has hosted the most Super Bowls?
7. In 2001, the Giants lost their only Super Bowl to what team?

General Knowledge
1. Nairobi is the capital of what African country? ( 1 pt)
2. The Ryder Cup is awarded to countries that compete in what sport? ( 1 pt)
3. What is the cube root of 64? ( 1 pt)
4. Na is the symbol for what chemical element? ( 2 pt)
5. "Disturbia" and "Unfaithful" were hit songs by what pop singer? ( 2 pt)
6. In England, what is a "rubbish tip?" ( 2 pt)
7. At what young age was actor James Dean killed in a car accident in 1955? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Who was the first US president to survive an assassination attempt while in office? ( 4 points)
2. What Asian country elected a TV celebrity chef as its prime minister in 2008, but forced him to resign after 9 months due to a conflict of interest? ( 5 points)
3. What eastern US city has more bridges than any other city in the world? ( 4 points)
4. Who is the only person currently prominently pictured on US currency who was not born in the continental United States? ( 4 points)
5. What hip hop artist recorded a rap single with Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin called "Rocket Experience" in 2009? ( 3 points)

Current Events
1. Garth Brooks; 2. New York City; 3. seventeen; 4. Yemen; 5. United Nations; 6. Newt Gingrich; 7. Demi Moore.

Florida Trivia
1. St. Augustine; 2. Jacksonville; 3. Red Sox and Twins; 4. Gatorade; 5. twenty-five; 6. Key Largo; 7. Ponce de Leon.

Super Bowl Trivia
1. six; 2. Buffalo Bills, 3. Pittsburgh Steelers; 4. zero; 5. Los Angeles (1967); 6. Miami (10); 7. Baltimore Ravens.

General Knowledge
1. Kenya; 2. golf; 3. four; 4. sodium; 5. Rihanna; 6. garbage dump; 7. twenty-four.

IQ Trivia
1. Andrew Jackson; 2. Thailand; 3. Pittsburgh, PA; 4. Alexander Hamilton; 5. Snoop Dogg.