Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lucky. Very Lucky.

We here in New York City and the northeastern United States went through an absolutely terrible day on Monday, and I was one of the very fortunate ones.

Hurricane Sandy hit the United States with amazing winds and rain, and caused a storm surge that flooded areas of Lower Manhattan and other parts of the five boroughs of New York. The rain was actually pretty minimal (7/10 of an inch at Central Park). It was the surge that caused all the major damage here.

The subways are shut down (hence no Trivia Night this week), the schools closed, and many businesses closed. The winds here reached 80 MPH, and it was scary looking out the window and seeing hundred-year-old trees swaying, windows rattling and the whistling of the gale-force winds.

But I was very fortunate. My home got through without a scratch. I took a tour of my neighborhood and saw a few downed trees. (See picture included here.) Thank goodness I was nowhere near any of the major flooding that hit the city, or the devastating fire that consumed 80 homes in Breezy Point, Queens.

I never stop thanking God for all the blessings I have in my life, and getting through the hurricane with everything in my life still intact is another thing to be thankful for.

Please do say a prayer tonight for those good folks who have been adversely affected by Sandy, and especially for those who have lost their lives because of it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Trivia Is Postponed For This Week

As all of you know, the effects of Hurricane Sandy were devastating in Manhattan, with terrible flooding. The subways will be shut down for the rest of this week.

So that means that Yours Truly will not be able to get into Manhattan, and that means no Trivia at Professor Thom's this week.

We hope to have our next Trivia Night either next Tuesday, November 6th or Wednesday night, November 7th. (With Election Night happening next Tuesday, no decision has been made yet as to which night we will have it on.)

Please stay safe everyone, and I hope to see you all at Thom's next week.

I Saw This Movie Eight Years Ago

Congratulations to the 2012 World Series champion San Francisco Giants, who took care of the Detroit Tigers with a 4-3 win in 10 innings last night.

It was just total dominance by a better team that simply pitched lights out.

The parallels to the 2004 title the Red Sox won were striking (and also similar to the 2007 championship the Sox won also).

The Giants were up against the wall in the NLCS, down 3-1, and it looked pretty bleak. Their starting pitchers took over, and they would not be denied. (They also came back to win in the NLDS down 2-0 to the Reds, and that might be even more impressive, as they had to win all three games in Cincinnati, and did.)

The Giants ended the season winning their last seven games, and the starters allowed just five runs. They went an amazing 56 straight innings without being behind. (The Red Sox went the last 60 innings in 2004 without being behind to win the World Series that year.)

Pablo Sandoval was the MVP, but former Red Sox infielder Marco Scutaro was the MVP of the postseason. Good to see Scutaro shine on the big stage.

As the Giants were wrapping up their second title of the decade (I know that feeling very well), my thoughts were of my late, great Uncle Paddy, who lived in the Bay Area in the 1970s, when the Giants were also-rans in the NL West. He spent many a cold night at Candlestick Park, and I remember him bringing me a Giants hat when he visited New York when I was little.

I'm sure the Giants title brought a smile to his face, and whenever he is, I'm sure he was lifting a cold one to the 2012 World Series Champions.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy Moves Us Over To Halloween Night This Week

Trivia Night this week has officially been moved over to Wednesday night, October 31st at 8:30 PM, due to Hurricane Sandy hitting the East Coast this week.

Subway and bus service is being shut down in New York on Sunday night, and may not be restored until Wednesday, as it looks like Tuesday maybe as bad as Monday is forecast to be. So moving Trivia Night back one day makes all the sense in the world.

I will be posting the Sneak Peek question and Special Categories here on the blog on Tuesday.

Stay safe everyone, and I hope many of you can make it to Professor Thom's on Wednesday night for a Halloween night edition of Trivia!

Eight Straight

Something really special is happening in South Bend, Indiana.

Notre Dame was 12-point underdog going into the Saturday night clash with Oklahoma at Norman. It was also a night when the remote control getting a serious workout, with the World Series Game 3 on at the same time.

Oklahoma kicked a field goal early in the first quarter, and that would be their only lead of the night.

Cierre Wood broke off a 62-yard TD run late in the first quarter put Notre Dame up 7-3, and two field goals in the second made it 10-6 at the half.

Notre Dame's tough defense held Oklahoma, who was averaging over 44 points game in 2012 coming in, to two field goals going into the fourth quarter. It was 13-6 when Blake Bell ran in from one yard to tie the score at 13. It was also the first rushing TD the Irish have allowed all season.

ND then got the ball and drove 13 plays down the field, with Everett Golson running in from one yard to put the Irish back on top. Then the defense took over again, and an interception by Manti Te'o (pictured) effectively ended the night for Oklahoma, as ND added a field goal, and taking over on downs with two minutes to play, Theo Riddick ran in from 15 yards to end the night at 30-13. Notre Dame has now beaten Oklahoma in 9 of their 10 meetings all-time.

Notre Dame has four games left in this amazing season, with Pittsburgh up next at South Bend on Saturday. Then it's away to Boston College, back to South Bend against Wake Forest, and the season finale in LA against USC.

Can the Irish run the table and finish 12-0?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trivia Is Still On This Tuesday, As Of Now

It is Saturday night as I write this blog post, and I just wanted to let the Tuesday Night Trivia regulars know that as of right now, Trivia Night is still on for this Tuesday night, October 30th at 8:30 PM.

Hurricane Sandy is making its way to the Northeast, and it could bring trouble in terms of high winds and lots of rain. I will be checking with my friends at Professor Thom's on Sunday to get an update as to what they want to do.

My feeling right now is that as long as the bar is open and the subways are running on Tuesday night, we will have Trivia. However, if any changes to that are in everyone's best interest, I will let you know what we will do.

We could move Trivia Night to the following night, Halloween night, or postpone Trivia Night entirely next week.

Whatever happens, I will let you all know immediately here at the blog, on my Facebook page, or by the email list.

Cross your fingers, and let's hope Sandy doesn't get in the way of Trivia Night next week!

The Greatest Moment In All of Sports History

The San Francisco Giants sure look like a team on a mission, as they are now 2 wins away from their second World Series title in three years.

And they remind me of two other clubs from the very recent past: the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox.

Think about it. The Giants and those Sox teams were up against the wall with no wiggle room in the League Championship Series, and they all went on winning streaks (of five or more games). These teams have done it with timely hitting and absolutely lights out pitching.

Good luck to the Giants. I wouldn't be surprised if they run the table here.

And speaking of the 2004 Red Sox. It was eight years ago today that the title was secured for the first time in 86 years.

The great Al Bundy once said that his scoring four touchdowns in one game was "the greatest moment in all of sports history." Everyone has a different definition for that special moment.

For me, this moment will live for eternity. Enjoy, everyone. And thanks always, 2004 Red Sox:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bucs Easily Handle Lifeless Vikings

It sure would have been nice had the Minnesota Vikings shown up to play the Tampa Bay Bucs at the Metrodome last night.

It was without question the worst game the Vikings played all year. This was my first opportunity to see a full Vikings game live (I see the live updates on NFL RedZone on Sundays), but by the third quarter, I was more interested in Game 2 of the World Series that was going on at the same time.

It was another rough outing for Christian Ponder, and his only highlight was an 18-yard TD pass to Percy Harvin late in the second quarter. They started the night with two three-and-outs, and you had a feeling right there this was going to be a bad night.

However, it was another strong game for Adrian Peterson. His 64-yard TD run was a thing of beauty, and he rushed for 123 yards on 15 carries.

But the defense was totally flat. Doug Martin ran wild, and for 214 total yards on the night. Tampa Bay moved the ball up and down the field, and with a 20-10 lead to open the third quarter, Martin caught a 64-yard TD from Josh Freeman out of the backfield.

The Vikings barely threatened after that, with the exception of Peterson's TD as the third quarter was about to end. The Bucs cruised in to a 36-17 win.

People have asked me about the great opening to this Vikings season, winning 5 of the first 7 games. I always expressed cautious optimism, but I still had a feeling they might be a bit over their heads. I would still think that an 8-8 or 9-7 season would be a success. Last night's totally flat performance should temper those who thought this Vikings team is a sure bet to make the playoffs.

Their next game is a week from Sunday in Seattle. Let's hope they show more life than they did last night against the Bucs.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Stink of 2012 Just Can't Shut Up

I felt an utter sigh of relief as John Farrell was introduced as Red Sox manager at Fenway yesterday.

I also felt like I got my team back in many ways.

And as that was going on, last year's Master of Disaster, Bobby Valentine, talked to Bob Costas last night on the NBC Sports Network and basically said that David Ortiz quit on the team once the big trade with the Dodgers was made on August 25th. Ortiz was one of Valentine's biggest defenders during the season, and it's odd Valentine going after him, as he exited Boston last month not throwing brickbats at anyone.

And today, Allan at The Joy of Sox has an interesting article calling out more of The Smartest Guy In The Room's BS in the incident with Will Middlebrooks, that it turns out, never happened.

Allan has a great title for the article: How Can You Tell Bobby Valentine Is Lying? His Lips Are Moving.

Valentine can't take his 2013 salary, which he didn't earn, and just go off into the sunset and leave everyone alone. Nope, he simply can't keep his mouth shut, and will now spin the 2012 disaster to make himself look as good as possible.

Whatever. Getting involved with this loser was a mistake from the get-go. (I tried to convince myself it could work at the time of his hiring. Silly me.)

Trivia Q&A: October 23

We had 20 teams in on a night with no major sports to deal with, and it was also nice to see an old Trivia regular, Dave, who had moved to Vietnam because of his job earlier this year. He was in New York for a week, and stopped in with some old regulars I hadn't seen in quite some time.

I was surprised that the numbers on the World Series Trivia were as high as they were. I know I didn't make it very difficult, but I thought they would still be a bit low, as many of my regulars aren't huge baseball fans. Nice to see so many do well in that category.  And as it turned out, two of the answers in Name the Continent Trivia were in "dispute", namely the "longest river" and "hottest temperature" ones. So I accepted "Africa" and "South America" for the former, and "Africa" and "North America" for the latter.

This would also be a night when the IQ Trivia was rather difficult, and only 3 teams got as many as 3 correct in that round. And one of the teams in fifth place, Horses and Bayonets Are Lame, Bikes and Lances Are Dope jumped over the four teams ahead of them and won the night by a single point, with 43 points. Nice job by Joe, Gillian and Andrew.

Second place was a tie at 42 points between Romney's Foreign Policy Has Been Endorsed By Colonial Williamsburg and I'm Bringing Ashley Back. We broke it by asking, "How many official Broadway theaters are there in New York?" Romney's guess closer to the answer (it is 40), and were awarded second place.

Best Team Name: John Quinn's Questions Often Give Me Romnesia

Current Events
1. What 80-year-old magazine will cease publication this December 31st, and go to a digital-only format?
2. What 1980s rap star was arrested last week in Las Vegas on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery domestic violence?
3. What Hollywood actress drew fire last week from Mitt Romney's supporters after she tweeted "you have to be stupid to vote for such a racist/misogynistic twat?"
4. George McGovern, the senator who unsuccessfully challenged Richard Nixon for the presidency in 1972, died on Sunday at the age of 90. What state did he represent in the US Senate?
5. Lance Armstrong was striiped of his Tour de France titles and banned for life by the International Cycling Union on Monday. How many Tour de France titles had he previously won?
6. Which comedienne was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center last night?
7. What Oscar-winning actor let loose with the F-bomb in promoting his new movie during an interview on "Good Morning America" last week?

World Series Trivia
1. What MLB Hall of Famer holds the record for the most World Series home runs in a career with 18? a. Babe Ruth; b. Mickey Mantle; c. Joe DiMaggio; d. Reggie Jackson.
2. In how many total games did the St. Louis Cardinals win the 2011 World Series? a. 4; b. 5; c. 6; d. 7.
3. Who pitched the only perfect game in World Series history? a. Bob Gibson; b. Cy Young; c. Don Larsen; d. Roy Halladay.
4. What team has currently gone the longest without winning a World Series? a. Cubs; b. Indians; c. Tigers; d. Astros.
5. Which NL team did the New York Yankees defeat in 1923 to win the first ever World Series? a. Dodgers; b. Giants; c. Phillies; d. Pirates.
6. Which AL team did the New York Mets defeat in 1969 to win their first ever World Series? a. Red Sox; b. Yankees; c. Orioles; d. Tigers.
7. What team has won the most World Series after the New York Yankees? a. Dodgers; b. Red Sox; c. Tigers; d. Cardinals.

Name the Continent Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Continent with the most countries
2. The world's longest river
3. Continent with the fewest people
4. Angel Falls (the world's largest waterfall)
5. Mount Everest is located on this continent
6. Only continent with no deserts
7. The largest volcano on earth
8. Deadliest earthquake in history (800,000 deaths in 1556)
9. The hottest temperature ever recorded on earth
10. Longest bridge in the world

General Knowledge
1. Ray Kroc opened the first franchise of what restaurant chain in California in 1955? ( 1 pt)
2. The Willis Tower is a skyscraper found in what US city? ( 1 pt)
3. What ship is a national memorial for those killed at Pearl Harbor? ( 1 pt)
4. Whitehorse is the capital city of what Canadian territory? ( 2 pt)
5. What letter vitamin is nicknamed "the sunshine vitamin?" ( 2 pt)
6. Actor Vic Morrow was killed on the set while filming a scene in what 1982 film? ( 2 pt)
7. What city is the administrative capital of South Africa? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What is First Lady Michelle Obama's maiden name? ( 4 points)
2. What country produced about 75% of the world's platinum for the year 2011? ( 4 points)
3. The Hanging Towers of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is found in what modern-day country? ( 4 points)
4. The first Space Shuttle was launched on April 12, 1981. What was the name of the shuttle? ( 3 points)
5. What was the only Alfred Hitchcock-directed film to win the Oscar for Best Picture? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. Newsweek; 2. Flavor Flav; 3. Eva Longoria; 4. South Dakota; 5. seven; 6. Ellen DeGeneres; 7. Tom Hanks.

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

Name the Continent Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Africa; 2. Africa (I also accepted South America); 3. Australia; 4. South America; 5. Asia; 6. Europe; 7. North America; 8. Asia; 9. Africa (I also accepted North America); 10. Asia.

General Knowledge
1. McDonald's; 2. Chicago; 3. USS Arizona; 4. Yukon; 5. D; 6. "Twilight Zone: The Movie;" 7. Pretoria.

IQ Trivia
1. Robinson; 2. South Africa; 3. Iraq; 4. Columbia; 5. "Rebecca."

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Fall Classic Takes Center Stage

Trivia Night at Professor Thom's returns to its usual day and time this week: Tuesday at 8:30 PM. And the Special Category for this week is "World Series Trivia." In honor of the fall classic set to start this Wednesday night, I will ask you seven questions concerning it, and they will be multiple choice, for those of you less learned in baseball.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Name the Continent Trivia." I will give you the descriptions of ten places, and you have to tell which of the continents you will find them. (And none of the answers will be Antarctica.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The Willis Tower is a skyscraper found in what US city?"

Good to return to our usual Tuesday night this week, and I hope many of you can make it out to what should be a great night of Trivia!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Welcome Back, Mr. Farrell

The Red Sox have gotten the manager they wanted, as John Farrell and the Sox reached an agreement on a new three-year contract. The Sox and Blue Jays have also reached a deal on compensation for Farrell's return to Boston as manager, and that will be announced in a few days.

It couldn't be John Lackey, could it? WEEI says the rumored compensation could be Mike Aviles.

Anyway, welcome back, Mr. Farrell. Nice to have someone back in charge I respect. We're glad to have you back. As well as some sanity.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Still My Favorite MLB Game Of All-Time

Eight years ago today. It never gets old:

The greatest comeback in the history of sports. And it still hasn't been challenged. Thanks always, 2004 Red Sox.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NYY Swept On TBS. Very Funny.

Yes, it's Yankee Elimination Day, as the Bronx Bombers were swept out of the ALCS by the Detroit Tigers, 8-1.

It was the first time New York has been swept in a postseason series since 1980, and in four games since 1976. The Yankee bats were nonexistent, as they scored six runs in four games and their best pitcher, C.C. Sabathia, got his head handed to him, giving up 5 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Out of a possible 39 innings in this series, the Yankees scored in only 3 of them.

Does this make up for the absolute crapshow of a Red Sox season? Nope.

But it helps.

The New York papers will crucify the Yankees in the papers tomorrow, and Mike Francesa, who I avoid like the plague on WFAN, should be interesting listening on Friday afternoon.

Yesterday, there were some in the media who were talking about the Yankees coming back from being down 0-3, but it was pretty half-hearted at best. Most Yankee fans knew their team was toast. (And the 2004 Red Sox were, of course, in that conversation. The gift that keeps on giving.)

And Yankee Elimination Day 2012 occurs on the 8th anniversary of David Ortiz' 14th inning single that won Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS.

The 2004 Boston Red Sox: still the only team in MLB history come from 0-3 down in a 7-game series to win it.

Trivia Q&A: October 17

Whenever we move Trivia over to another night, we lose people for that week. Lots of folks can't change their schedule and that is understandable. But I did see many familiar faces on Wednesday night, and I appreciate all of you who were able to come out. We had 13 teams in on a night where it was still rather noisy in the bar, and Mitt Romney dominated the team names.

We had some strong scores for True or False Trivia, and also for the last two rounds also. We had five teams who got 4 of 5 correct in IQ Trivia, but the team leading all night, I Have a Binder Full of Women But They All Look Like Jim (also the winner for Best Team Name), took the top prize with 49 points.

Second place went to Estrogen: Good For Men and Women!, after they won a tiebreaker from Mitt Romney's Three Point Plan to Help Women: Binder, Trapper, Keeper. Both teams finished with 46 points.

We return to Tuesday night next week, October 23rd, at 8:30 PM.

Current Events
1. Actress Reese Witherspoon gave birth to her third child last week, a boy, and named him after what southern US state?
2. Robert Leftkowitz and Brian Kobilka were awarded the Nobel Prize in what field last week?
3. Arlen Specter, who served in the US Senate for 30 years, died on Sunday. What state did he represent?
4. Skydiver Felix Baumgartner set a new record when he jumped how many miles above the New Mexico desert on Sunday?
5. Which female R&B singer will be performing at next February's Super Bowl halftime show?
6. Name 1 of the 2 comediennes who will host the 2013 Golden Globe Awards this coming January.
7. What automaker last week announced a recall of cars built from 2009-12, over 154,000 cars, due to problems with an airbag?

1960s Trivia
1. What actor played the role of Norman Bates in the classic 1960 film "Psycho?"
2. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 in what southern US city?
3. What US senator did Richard Nixon defeat in November 1968 to become president of the United States?
4. "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" was a number one hit in 1968 for what R&B singer?
5. "Star Trek" ran for three seasons from 1966-69 on which of the three major TV networks?
6. Harper Lee published what Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, her only one, in 1960?
7. Name 1 of the 3 world capital cities that hosted a Summer Olympics in the 1960s.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Michael Jackson appeared on the cover of Life magazine more than any person.
2. China has more English speakers than the USA does.
3. The letter "J" does not appear anywhere on the periodic table of elements.
4. The term "soldier's disease" was coined during the Civil War, meaning syphilis.
5. The youngest pope was 21 years old.
6. Canada has more inland waters and lakes than any other country in the world.
7. Scissors were invented by Benjamin Franklin.
8. The liquor bourbon gets its name from a county in Kentucky.
9. The board game Monopoly is banned in Cuba.
10. The highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere is in Canada.

General Knowledge
1. What is current name of the nation of Siam? ( 1 pt)
2. How many sides are on a hexagon? ( 1 pt)
3. Checkpoint Charlie is found in what European city? ( 1 pt)
4. What French monarch was known as "The Sun King?" ( 2 pt)
5. What color is the "black box" in a commercial airplane? ( 2 pt)
6. Who was the only US president to serve in the military during both World Wars? ( 2 pt)
7. The Copts are a Christian group based primarily in what country? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Tagalog is the national language of what Asian nation? ( 3 points)
2. The famous Lone Ranger theme song was written by what 19th century Italian composer? ( 4 points)
3. What European city was once known as Lutetia before being renamed in the 4th century AD? ( 4 points)
4. Tenzing-Hillary Airport, which recently was given the title "World's Most Dangerous Airport", is located in what country? ( 4 points)
5. "Bill W." is a 2012 documentary about the life of William Griffith Wilson, who co-founded what organization in 1935? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. Tennessee; 2. chemistry; 3. Pennsylvania; 4. twenty-four; 5. Beyonce; 6. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler; 7. Ford.

1960s Trivia
1. Anthony Perkins; 2. Memphis; 3. Hubert Humphrey; 4. Marvin Gaye; 5. NBC; 6. "To Kill a Mockingbird;" 7. Rome, Tokyo and Mexico City.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. false, Elizabeth Taylor; 2. true; 3. true; 4. false, morphine addiction; 5. false, 11; 6. true; 7. false, Leonardo daVinci; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, Argentina (Mt. Aconcagua).

General Knowledge
1. Thailand; 2. six; 3. Berlin; 4. Louis XIV; 5. orange; 6. Dwight D. Eisenhower; 7. Egypt.

IQ Trivia
1. The Philippines; 2. Gioachino Rossini; 3. Paris; 4. Nepal; 5. Alcoholics Anonymous.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mr. Roberts. Still The Man.

OK, it's October 17th, and it's been eight years since this franchise-changing moment happened.

Never gets old. I love it from this angle, taken by a fan in the bleachers.

Thanks always, Dave Roberts.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Politicians Yapping Moves Us To Wednesday This Week

As many of you hopefully know, we are doing Trivia Night this week on Wednesday, due to the presidential debate tonight. (I'm guessing many of the Trivia folks would like to watch the debate live, so hence the move.)

So, this week's Special Category will be "1960s Trivia", seven questions about that turbulent decade in history and popular culture. No special reason really, just that we haven't done that as a category in quite some time. The Q Train lightning round will be "True or False Trivia."

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Checkpoint Charlie is located in what European city?"

We will get going at the usual time of 8:30 PM on Wednesday. We will return to Tuesday night next week, October 23rd, at 8:30 PM. Hope many of you can make it to Professor Thom's tomorrow night.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Free Fallin' & The Vikes Almost Steal One

Well, Baumgartner had a better day than Bumgarner on Sunday:

And Felix had a better day than the Minnesota Vikings did on Sunday, too.

I knew there was trouble when the Vikings had to settle for field goals in their first three drives. They all stalled out in the red zone, and the Vikes had to settle for Blair Walsh chip shots. 

The Washington Redskins came back with 17 points in the second quarter to lead 17-9 at halftime. Robert Griffin ran for a 7-yard TD to open the second half and it looked like the Skins would roll on to an easy win.

It was 31-12 as the fourth quarter began, and I put this one to bed. But the Vikings have shown me a never-say-die attitude, and didn't go into that good night quietly. Christian Ponder threw two TDs, to Michael Jenkins and Kyle Rudolph, and it was a game again at 31-26.

Washington had the ball again deep in Vikings territory, and the momentum had clearly shifted. But Griffin ran for a first down and a lot more on a third down play, and it turned out to be a 76-yard TD run that put the game on ice.

The Vikings drove down to the goal line with seconds to play before Ponder was picked off in the end zone to wrap it. He threw for 352 yards and 2 TDs, and 2 interceptions as well.

The Vikes are now 4-2. It was a tough loss, but they showed me a spirit that had been missing for a few years. A team that doesn't quit. They take on Arizona at the Metrodome next Sunday.

And how about my boys from Notre Dame on Saturday? A goal line stand in OT nips a tough Stanford team, 20-13. The Fighting Irish are now 6-0 and are now the 5th ranked team in the latest BCS poll. Bring on BYU next Saturday!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trivia Will Be On Wednesday Night This Week

Tuesday Night Trivia will be Wednesday Night Trivia this week, as the second presidential debate on Tuesday will move us over to Wednesday, October 17th at 8:30 PM.

Sorry for the late notice, everyone.

We will return to Tuesday night the following week, on October 23rd at 8:30 PM.

The Sneak Peek question and Special Categories will be posted on Tuesday this week.

Hope to see many of you on Wednesday night.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bad Night For The Beltway

The Baltimore Orioles gave it a good run to get to the ALDS, but came up short to the Yankees in five games.

I didn't see a pitch of it, as I don't watch postseason Yankee baseball.

And what happened to the Washington Nationals is still leaving me shaking my head. A 6-0 lead went down the drain, as the St. Louis Cardinals pecked away, and scored 4 runs in the ninth for an incredible 9-7 win. This is a Cardinals team that could take this and run straight to a second straight improbable title.

Last night brought back painful memories for me of the 1986 World Series and 2003 ALCS. But fortunately, they are now distant memories, made far less painful by the events of the last decade.

Nats fans, including my friend Eddie, are really hurting today. I can only say that your boys will be back. They have a terrific nucleus of young talent, and they will learn from this experience. They should be motivated for a good run in 2013.

How about a Giants-Tigers World Series? Sounds good to me.

I Report. You Decide.

DirtyWater Boston posted this picture on Facebook yesterday.

It is supposed to be Bobby Valentine posing with two Red Sox fans in Germany earlier this week. Note the hat he's wearing.

I honestly don't think it's Valentine, just a guy who looks like him.

You be the judge:

Those guys with "Valentine" sure do have odd looking faces.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fenway Is Never Out of Season

My buddy Jere of A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory recently did something I have dreamed of: he took batting practice at Fenway. (I walked on the field at Fenway before a game in 2008 and thought that was one of the highlights of my life.)

The Sox rewarded season ticket holders after the regular season ended by allowing them to come to Fenway and take a tour of the building and take some swings in the cage. Lucky stiff.

Jere (above) posted some really cool pictures of his day at Fenway. Check them out here, and here.

And speaking of America's Most Beloved Ballpark, it is featured on a cool web site called "Stadium Journey", which puts up reviews of all different ballparks from all sports around the country. Here is the one from Fenway Park.

By the way, did any of notice the knucklehead fan in Washington on Wednesday who threw back Pete Kozma's home run? It was an historic one, as it was the first round-tripper hit in DC in the postseason since 1933. I wonder what some fans use for brains, as they'd rather have three seconds of cheering throwing a ball back than keep a part of history.

And I'm glad Fenway Park bars that kind of thing the Bleacher Bums started many years ago.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mongo Was Just a Pawn In The Game of Life

I was saddened to hear of the death of Alex Karras today in Los Angeles at the age of 77. He came to prominence as a great defensive lineman for the Detroit Lions from 1958-1970.

But he gained wider fame from moving over to the movies and TV, and became best known for the TV sitcom "Webster" and a short stint in the booth doing "Monday Night Football."

For me, Alex Karras will forever be "Mongo" from one of my favorite all-time films, "Blazing Saddles." And in memory of the great Mr. Karras, I present this YouTube clip where Mongo first makes his presence known to the citizens of Rock Ridge: Thanks for the laughs, Mr. Karras, and godspeed.

Trivia Q&A: October 9

We had 27 teams in on a busy night of Trivia. We had some strong scores through the first three rounds, especially in the Q Train, which had "Beatles/John Lennon Songs Trivia." It was nice to see people know their Beatles songs, as 17 of the teams got perfect scores in the round.

Going into IQ Trivia, we had the top five teams bunched within three points, but the team in seventh place, My Dick In Inches, jumped over all of them by getting 20 points and winning the night by five points. It rarely happens that a team out of the money does it, but they did. They completed the night with 50 points.

We had a tie for second at 45 points, and we broke it by asking a Beatles question, "How many Top 40 songs did the Beatles have in their career in the US?" They had 49, and the team of Fire Big Bird? Really? wound up winning as their guess was closest. Third place went to Little Sandusky Urban Achievers.

Best Team Name: I Wish This Penis Was a Microphone

Current Events
1. Facebook reached what milestone number in total users worldwide last week?
2. What former politician blamed the high altitude of Denver for President Obama's lackluster performance in last week's presidential debate?
3. What comedian recently wrote an angry letter to a New York times critic and defended the use of the word "really" in scripted TV?
4. Which major airline canceled nearly 100 flights last week after many of its Boeing 757s needed inspection due to passenger seats coming loose during flights?
5. What Hollywood actress was arrested last week in Texas after protesting the construction of an oil pipeline being built bringing oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast?
6. John Gurdon of England and Shinya Yamanaka of Japan both won this year's Nobel Prize in what field yesterday?
7. What 29-year-old Hollywood actress was named "Sexiest Woman Alive" this week by Esquire magazine?

October 9th Trivia
1. On this day in 1701, the Collegiate School was first incorporated. By what name do we now know this New England institution of higher learning today?
2. In 1919, the Chicago White Sox lost Game 8 of the World Series, and would forever be known as "the Black Sox." What NL team won the World Series?
3. On this day in 1967, Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara was executed for attempting to cite a revolution in what South American country?
4. In 1635, religious dissident Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and went on to establish a settlement in what current US state?
5. On this day in 1976, "A Fifth of Beethoven" a disco/classical hybrid song by Walter Murphy, was the number one song in the US. On what smash 1977 soundtrack album did the song get another life when it was featured in that film?
6. In 1944, John Entwistle was born. What classic British rock band was he the bass player for?
7. On this day in 2002, serial killer Aileen Wuornos was executed by the state of Florida. What 2003 film was based on her life?

Beatles/John Lennon Songs Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Come Together
2. Just Like Starting Over
3. Instant Karma
4. I Am The Walrus
5. In My Life
6. Whatever Gets You Through The Night
7. Mind Games
8. Revolution
9. The Ballad of John and Yoko
10.Power to the People

General Knowledge
1. Canberra is the capital of what country? ( 1 pt)
2. What actor played the president of the United States in the TV series "The West Wing?" ( 1 pt)
3. Which celebrity started a charitable organization called SixDegrees.com? ( 1 pt)
4. What is the most popular day of the week for people to eat out in the United States? ( 2 pt)
5. The first successful heart transplant was performed in 1967 in what country? ( 2 pt)
6. Pearl Harbor is located on which of the Hawaiian islands? ( 2 pt)
7. Ganymede and Callisto are both moons of what planet? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What baseball Hall of Famer was the last man to win the batting Triple Crown on two different occasions? ( 4 points)
2. Name 1 of the 2 sitting US presidents who were arrested while they were in office. ( 4 points)
3. The American embassy in which world capital city is the largest and most expensive of any embassy in the world? ( 4 points)
4. Which major tennis tournament did John McEnroe win four times, the most in his career? ( 3 points)
5. A person who is a gelotologist studies what type of human behavior? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. 1 billion; 2. Al Gore; 3. Jerry Seinfeld; 4. American Airlines; 5. Daryl Hannah; 6. medicine; 7. Mila Kunis.

October 9th Trivia
1. Yale University; 2. Cincinnati Reds; 3. Bolivia; 4. Rhode Island; 5. "Saturday Night Fever;" 6. The Who; 7. "Monster."

Beatles/John Lennon Songs Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Beatles; 2. solo; 3. solo; 4. Beatles; 5. Beatles; 6. solo; 7. solo; 8. Beatles; 9. Beatles; 10. solo.

General Knowledge
1. Australia; 2. Martin Sheen; 3. Kevin Bacon; 4. Saturday; 5. South Africa; 6. Oahu; 7. Jupiter.

IQ Trivia
1. Ted Williams; 2. Franklin Pierce and Ulysses S. Grant; 3. Baghdad; 4. US Open; 5. laughter.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Here's My Ballot for the BBA Awards

No, it's not for the upcoming presidential election, but for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, which I became a new member earlier this year. The BBA is a large group of baseball bloggers from around the United States and Canada, and every year they had out five major awards for both leagues.

This is my ballot for the American League awards. (I do only the AL since my blog centers around my Red Sox fandom.) There are five awards: Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year), Willie Mays Award (Rookie of the Year), Goose Gossage Award (Top reliever), Walter Johnson Award (Cy Young Award), and Stan Musial Award (MVP Award).

Connie Mack Award: Bob Melvin. It was between two managers for most of the year, but Bob Melvin of the A's pulled away from the Orioles' Buck Showalter with the second half the A's put together. They not only took the AL West title from the Texas Rangers on the final day of the year, but came from 13 games down on July 1st to do it. I thought for sure the A's would lose 100 games in 2012 after trading away so many veterans in the offseason and Melvin would be looking for work right about now. The A's remind me of the 1969 New York Mets in so many ways.

Willie Mays Award: Mike Trout. A category that has a runaway winner. Mike Trout of the LA Angels exploded onto the scene and made an immediate impact upon the underachieving Angels. The catch he made in Baltimore has been replayed so many times and was one of the best plays of the year. Trout was second in batting at .327, with 30 home runs, 83 RBI and 49 stolen bases. Trout should finish second to Miguel Cabrera in the MVP vote.

Goose Gossage Award: Fernando Rodney. Rodney of the Rays had an unconscious year as the Tampa Bay closer. He converted 48 of 50 chances (only Jim Johnson saved more), held opponents to a .167 batting average, and struck out 76 hitters in just over 74 innings.

Walter Johnson Award: David Price. It was a great year for Tampa Bay pitchers, and Price became the first Rays pitcher to win 20 games, as he was 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA, which led the American League. He struck out 205 batters in 211 innings.It was another terrific year for Justin Verlander, who led the AL in strikeouts with 239, but Price gets the nod for winning 20 and just edging Verlander in ERA (his was 2.64).

Stan Musial Award: Miguel Cabrera. This is a no-brainer if there ever was one. Miguel Cabrera became the first player since the great Carl Yastrzemski to win the Triple Crown with the fabulous season he had in leading the Detroit Tigers to the AL Central title. Cabrera hit .330, with 44 home runs and 139 RBI, and would have won the Triple Crown for all of baseball if Buster Posey hadn't beaten him in batting average. (The last MLB player to win the Triple Crown for all of baseball was Mickey Mantle in 1956.)

The awards will be announced beginning next Monday, October 15, with one per day until October 19.

Monday, October 08, 2012

John Would Have Been 72 Tomorrow

The Special Category for Professor Thom's Tuesday Trivia Night this week will be "October 9th Trivia." It will be seven questions connected to people, places and things on the day in history.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Beatles/John Lennon Songs Trivia." In honor of what would have been John's 72nd birthday, I will give you the names of ten songs that were either done by the Beatles (with John at lead vocal) or John as a solo artist. You have to tell me who recorded it.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What actor played the president of the United States in the TV series 'The West Wing?'"

We get going at 8:30 PM tomorrow night. The crowds have been big with the move to the earlier time, so get in early to get a good table. Hope to see many of you at Thom's tomorrow night.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Is There Still Baseball Going On?

It was a great weekend for me, as Notre Dame absolutely whacked Miami, 41-3, on Saturday night at Soldier Field in Chicago.

I do hope for one thing: they won't wear those hideous uniforms again (see above).

Notre Dame is now 5-0, and play Stanford at South Bend next Saturday.

While in the NFL, the Vikings ran roughshod over the Tennessee Titans, 30-7, and are now tied for first with the Chicago Bears at 4-1. They now have one more win than they had in all of 2011.

Skol Vikings!

I should have more weekends like this. It's making me forget how absolutely forgettable baseball was this past summer.

And congratulations to Terry Francona, as he is returning to MLB, as manager of the Cleveland Indians.

I said to anyone who would listen after he was let go last year that he would take a year off, do some broadcasting, and return to the dugout. I wish him nothing but the best (except when his Indians play the Red Sox).

Friday, October 05, 2012

Yesterday Sure Wasn't Valentine's Day

I'm sorry to keep piling on, but this was too good not to post.

(What the hell, let's pile on, he deserves it!)

From Mad Magazine:

With thanks to my friend Jim Prime, who posted the picture on Facebook today.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

One and done.

The long national nightmare is over.


That wraps up another baseball season.

A disgraceful end to a disgraceful season, 14-2.

The numbers are absolutely brutal. Eight straight losses to end it. Lost 12 of the last 13. The Sox finished 26 games out, 4 behind the 4th place Blue Jays, the furthest out of first of any AL team. The Sox went an unbelievable 16-42 since the July 31st trade deadline. They finished last for the first time since 1992, had the most losses since they dropped 100 in 1965.

Clay Buchholz was the top winner with 11 wins, the fewest for a staff leader since 1932 (the worst year in Red Sox history: 43-111).

I feel a sense of relief now that this 69-93 disaster is over. Bobby Valentine will be fired either today or tomorrow, and he showed the class that just drips off him by tossing his entire coaching staff under the bus on the radio yesterday.

He was the worst manager in my Red Sox fandom lifetime. Yep, worse than Butch Hobson, Jimy Williams or even Joe Kerrigan (and that is saying A LOT).

I hope the door doesn't hit you in the ass on the way out.

Now, the Hot Stove League begins, and the hard work just begins for Ben Cherington.

134 days until pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Myers (see countdown clock above).

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

We Deserved Better Than This

This complete and utter disaster of a season ends for the Red Sox tonight in the Bronx.

Bobby Valentine's Reign of Terror as manager should also conclude with his firing shortly afterwards.

I was totally confident the Red Sox would blow that game last night, even with a 3-1 lead in the 9th. And it absolutely boggles my mind what happened in the 11th. The Yankees intentionally walked Pedro Ciriaco with a man on second and two outs, with Jose Iglesias on deck. The YES Network put up a graphic during the walk that the Sox had eight position players on the bench, including Mike Aviles. They figured, like just about everyone else, that Valentine would pinch-hit in that situation.

But what happens? He lets Iglesias, batting .107 with 1 RBI, hit. Does Valentine want to win this game? This is the same manager who pinch-hit in the middle of an Iglesias at-bat a couple of weeks ago. Iglesias grounds out to third. Sox lose in 12 innings. Figures.

The Red Sox had a chance to get back a modicum of dignity last night, by making the Yankees squirm and tie the AL East race, but couldn't even get that done right. All they've done is let us down in 2012.

Valentine is simply an awful in-game manager, and has proved it time and again this season. He was the absolute wrong man for this team, and that is on upper management. Ben Cherington wanted no part of this guy (remember how he was set to name Dale Sveum as manager?), but Larry Lucchino, in his infinite wisdom, foisted him upon all of Red Sox Nation. I'll admit, I was willing to give Valentine a chance, to see what he could do in what surely was his last chance to manage a winner. It was either going to be a big success or an unmitigated disaster. Guess which one it was?

This has been the worst year by far that I have gone through as a Red Sox fan. As fans we have been embarrassed all year along (and since September of 2011) by the stupid nonsense that has gone on around this team, and The Smartest Guy In The Room has only added to it. John Henry, Tom Werner and Lucchino are as equally responsible for the laughingstock the Red Sox franchise has become. But we have also become humiliated by it as well.

I wrote this not along ago, but I will write it again. If The Trio decide to go another year with Valentine, I will officially boycott this team until Valentine is gone as manager. I simply cannot see any scenario where bringing him back to flush another year down the crapper makes any sense whatsoever. The fan reaction should that happen will be earthquake-like. Fans right now are angry and embarrassed, and want big changes now. There will be many empty seats at Fenway next year should that occur. I will NOT give my money to an organization that treats me like a moron.

69-92. The first last-place finish since 1992. That is absolutely, positively unacceptable. The fans deserve much, much better. The Sox needed to get off to a good start to put last September behind them, and that didn't happen. (I knew they were dead when they started 1-5.) Letting Terry Francona go after 2011 has proven to be a disastrous decision, and it was multiplied by bringing Valentine in. If ownership really cares about this franchise, they will bounce Valentine and the entire coaching staff on Thursday and start with a clean slate for 2013. The Sox simply aren't as bad as their record indicates. But this coming offseason will be an extremely important one. The next manager hire will be a very crucial one, and who he brings in through trades and free agency will be, too. Cherington also needs to get some of the clubhouse lawyers out of Boston as well.

I feel like my team was taken away from me with all the horseshit that went on in Boston in 2012. The Trio can start to repair their fractured relationship with their fanbase by firing Valentine as soon as possible. Whatever can be flushed from the 2012 season needs to go as soon as the last out is made tonight.

The Boston Red Sox have gone off the rails. It's time to put the train back on the tracks. The Hot Stove begins tonight. And it could be one of the most important offseasons in my lifetime.

4 and 1/2 months until pitchers and catchers in Ft. Myers.

Trivia Q&A: October 2

We had 21 teams in on a night that went from rather quiet when we started to very noisy as the night went on. Seven teams were bunched up within three points during the middle rounds. Going into IQ Trivia, we had one team up by one point with a three-way tie for second.

But one of those teams, Me Illamo Mitt Romney, Me Gusta Nachos, jumped into the winner's circle with 51 points and the win. Congrats to Gillian and her depleted team on their win! (BTW, I goofed up the "fresh water lake" question, and awarded everyone 4 points.) Second place went to Where's My Team with 46 points, and third place went to Itinerant Scoundrel, with 44 points.

Current Events
1. The Obama administration announced they would seek to lift the ban to the US on imported products from which Asian nation?
2. Dozens of people were arrested last week in what European country during a one-day strike over planned spending cuts there?
3. Arthur Sulzberger Sr. died last week at the age of 86. What newspaper was he the publisher of for more than three decades?
4. The Chinese government canceled events planned for last week to commemorate the 40th anniversary of normalized relations with what nation over an ongoing dispute over a group of islands between the two?
5. What musical performer opened the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn last weekend with eight sold-out shows?
6. Four Buddhist temples were set on fire in what Asian country on Sunday by Muslims after a picture posted by a Buddhist man on Facebook allegedly insulted Islam?
7. Two guns once owned by which two notorious gangsters were sold last Sunday at a New Hampshire auction for over $500,000?

TV and Movie Comedy Trivia
1. What legendary comedian played the talk show host in the 1983 film "The King of Comedy?"
2. What actor plays the character of Michael Scott in the NBC sitcom "The Office?"
3. "Mr Creosote" was a character in which Monty Python film?
4. Jay and Silent Bob are fictional characters that first appeared in what 1994 comedy film?
5. What comedy series won five consecutive Best Comedy Series Emmys in the 1990s?
6. Ethan and Joel Coen won the Oscar for Best Screenplay for what 1996 comedy film?
7. What classic comedy film was set at fictional Faber College?

11-20 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Former New York Giants QB Phil Simms wore this number.
2. This is the number of holes in a stipulated round of golf.
3. A standard dartboard has this many sectors.
4. This is the number of face cards in a standard deck of playing cards.
5. "The Stations of the Cross," or the Passion of Jesus Christ, is represented by this number of stations.
6. This is the minimum age that one can apply for a Private Pilot License.
7. This is the number of checkers each side has at the start of a backgammon game.
8. According to Jewish law, this is the age when Jewish boys become accountable for their actions and become a Bar Mitzvah.
9. This is the number of regular season games each NFL team plays.
10. This number was the debut album from singer Adele.

General Knowledge
1. How many angles are on a pentagon? ( 1 pt)
2. Greenland is a territory of what European country? ( 1 pt)
3. A Celsius temperature of 100 degrees compares to what temperature Fahrenheit? ( 1 pt)
4. The Hoover Dam is located on what western US river? ( 2 pt)
5. What two countries make up the Iberian Peninsula? ( 2 pt)
6. Which US state borders four of the five Great Lakes? ( 2 pt)
7. Who portrayed Sunny Von Bulow in the 1990 film "Reversal of Fortune?" ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the US? ( 4 points)
2. Which number amendment to the US Constitution changed the legal voting age to eighteen? ( 3 points)
3. "Salamander's Wool" is a name sometimes used to describe what fibrous mineral? ( 4 points)
4. Which of the seven Nobel Prize categories has had by far fewer American winners than the other six? ( 5 points)
5. What 19th century US president is the only chief executive who got married in the White House? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Burma; 2. Greece; 3. New York Times; 4. Japan; 5. Jay-Z; 6. Bangladesh; 7. Bonnie and Clyde.

TV and Movie Comedy Trivia
1. Jerry Lewis; 2. Steve Carell; 3. "The Meaning of Life"; 4. "Clerks;" 5. "Frasier;" 6. "Fargo;" 7. "Animal House."

11-20 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 11; 2. 18; 3. 20; 4. 12; 5. 14; 6. 17; 7. 15; 8. 13; 9. 16; 10. 19.

General Knowledge
1. five; 2. Denmark; 3. 212; 4. Colorado; 5. Spain and Portugal; 6. Michigan; 7. Glenn Close.

IQ Trivia
1. Flathead Lake (Montana); 2. Twenty-six; 3. asbestos; 4. literature; 5. Grover Cleveland.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Everyone Loves To Laugh, Right?

On Tuesday night, Trivia at Professor Thom's will return with "TV and Movie Comedy Trivia" as the Special Category. I will ask you seven questions connected with television and movie comedies, mostly within 30 years or so. (There won't be any comedy albums trivia. I just posted this Steve Martin album because I always liked the title and cover.)

The Q Train lightning round will be "11-20 Trivia." I will ask you ten questions that will have the numbers 11 through 20 as the answers, and every answer will be a different number.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The Hoover Dam is located on what western US river?"

Remember that we have moved the time of Tuesday Night Trivia up to 8:30 PM. There will be a Red Sox-Yankees game on at that time, but it may or may not have any importance. But I doubt many Sox fans will be in for it. We've gotten bigger crowds again lately, as the earlier time may be bringing in more folks. Coming in earlier can get you a better table, so I hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.