Monday, December 31, 2012

Out With The Old, In With The New

This is the 4,179th post of The Mighty Quinn Media Machine, and the 445th and final post for 2012. I want to thank you all for your wonderful support for this site of mine, as we end our 7th calendar year.

The number of posts I've written continues to decline as the years have gone on, and I think that might be due to Facebook and Twitter, and even to the Red Sox not going to the playoffs the last three years.

New Year's is generally a fairly quiet holiday for me, as I usually spend it watching the marathons on TV. This year is a special one, as not only will the "Twilight Zone" and "The Honeymooners" marathons be going, but WLNY is having an "Odd Couple" marathon beginning at midnight. I've had to adjust my DVR to record the shows at different times, as you can't record two shows at the same time without watching one of them (unless your TV is off, so the middle night is no problem).

When I was young, I used to watch Dick Clark and the ball drop from Times Square on ABC every year. But after Dick's stroke, and the musicians of little talent who came to dominate the show, which was then hijacked by Ryan Seacrest, I gave it a permanent pass. Rest in peace, Dick.

But it is still a great pleasure to write this blog. Thanks to all of you who stop by here regularly, or just once in a while.

I wish you all a Happy and Prosperous 2013.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

AP Misses By Just 24 Feet

A few weeks ago, I read online that Fran Tarkenton, the legendary Vikings Hall of Fame quarterback, made a bold prediction after the Vikings lost to Green Bay, and they were skidding at 6-6 and it looked like their season was on the brink.

Fran boldly predicted the Vikings would run the table and finish 10-6. I thought that was crazy, as they had to face Chicago, St. Louis, Houston and Green Bay.

Damned if he wasn't right.

The Vikings ended an astounding month of December by winning an absolute thriller, 37-34 over the Packers, and wrapped up the final Wild Card berth in the NFC.

And I have simply run out of superlatives to describe the great Adrian Peterson. He rushed for 199 yards and scored two TDs in the win, and came up just 8 yards short of tying Eric Dickerson's NFL record for rushing yards in a season. AP wound up with 2,097 yards, and is second all-time. And this after exactly one year ago today, AP had surgery on the knee he badly injured in Washington.

It was one of the most nerve-wracking days in the history of my Vikings fandom. The Vikes needed the win to make the playoffs, as Chicago had won in Detroit, so a Vikings loss would have sent them into the off-season.

And to top it off, they were playing their hated division rival.

The Vikings led the entire way. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, on a 54-yard FG by Blair Walsh (hasn't he been simply amazing?) and AP's 7-yard run.

Christian Ponder had one of his best games of the year, going 16-for-28 and 234 yards, and three TDs. He threw no interceptions, and made no glaring mistakes. He has his critics for sure, but he can breathe a bit easier tonight.

Aaron Rodgers was even better, throwing 4 TDs and for 365 yards. The Vikings led 20-10 at the half, and Green Bay came out firing in the second half. They finally tied it up on a Mason Crosby FG at 27 early in the fourth. Both teams added passing touchdowns, and it was knotted at 34 with less than 3 minutes to play when the Vikings got the ball.

And Ponder led the Vikings downfield, and at the Green Bay 38 with less than a minute to play, I was thinking if AP ran it in from there, he would set the rushing record and the Vikings would win the game and head for the playoffs. His last rush was down to the 12 yard line, and he was only 9 yards short of the setting it. Damn.

But Walsh came on to kick a 29-yard FG to win it (and it tied the Vikings FG record for a year with 35), and send the Vikings to a rematch with the Packers in Green Bay next Saturday night at 8 PM ET (it denied Green Bay a first-round bye). I have to admit I had the thought of Walsh missing would send the game to OT and AP would have another shot at the rushing record. But I quickly let that thought go the moment the ball was heading through the goalposts.

It has been an incredible year. Not just AP's near-record. But the Vikings went an incredible 10-6, after winning just a combined 9 games the last two seasons. A terrific job by Leslie Frazier and his staff. I honestly felt after the draft back in April the Vikings would make strides this year, and even get back to .500.

It's a proud day to be a Minnesota Vikings fan. Thank you AP. Thank you Leslie Frazier.

Thank you Vikings. Now on to the playoffs.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tito In NYC On January 23

As many of you may know, Terry Francona has a book coming out shortly, which he co-wrote with the infamous Dan Shaughnessy called "Francona: The Red Sox Years", and will be released on January 22nd.

You better believe I will be reading it. I can just imagine what it will say when it hits bookshelves next month.

And for those of you Red Sox fans in the New York area, the great Tito will be doing a book signing at the Barnes & Noble store at the Citigroup Center in Manhattan, at 160 E. 54th Street on January 23rd at 12:30 PM.

And I will certainly be there, to get an autographed copy of the book, and especially to thank him for all he did in bringing two championships to Boston in 2004 and 2007.

Hanrahan Will Close

The Red Sox completed the Joel Hanrahan deal with the Pirates yesterday, and acquired minor league second baseman Brock Holt in the trade. They sent reliever Mark Melancon, who was a disaster in 2011, along with minor league pitcher Stolmy Pimental, and two of the players they acquired in last August Dodgers megadeal, Jerry Sands and Ivan DeJesus, to Pittsburgh.

The Red Sox also announced that Hanrahan will be the Red Sox closer for 2013, and that Andrew Bailey will be one of the set-up men. Makes me wonder if the Red Sox might still move him before spring training, because you know he can't be happy about that. The Sox have a crowded bullpen, now with Hanrahan, Bailey, Daniel Bard, Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, Craig Breslow, Franklin Morales, Clayton Mortensen, Alfredo Aceves and Andrew Miller.

The Sox also made the Stephen Drew deal official.

Mike Napoli? Who knows what's going on on that front. They agreed to terms nearly a month ago, and still haven't made it official, due to some contract language regarding Napoli's injured hip. And Adam LaRoche is still out there.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

That's how Trivia Night ended the calendar year for 2012.

The intense rain, moving the Trivia day, plus the fact it was the day after Christmas was a bad combination, as just about all the Trivia regulars decided to pass on Trivia on Wednesday night, so we decided not to have it. That is unfortunate, but that does happen. The bar was just about empty the entire evening. I appreciate the one group of dedicated regulars that came out despite the weather.

We will be back for our first night of Trivia for 2013 on Wednesday night, January 2nd at 8:30 PM. We will return to our regular Tuesday night of Trivia the following Tuesday, January 8th at 8:30 PM.

Thank you all for making 2012 a great year, and I look forward to another great year in 2013!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We Conclude Trivia for 2012 On Wednesday

We close out Trivia Night for 2012 on Wednesday night, with a special edition due to the fact that Christmas Day fell on a Tuesday this year. (I hope Santa was good to all of you out there!) And our last Special Category will be "The Year 2012 In Review", seven questions about events that occurred in this calendar year.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Did They Make It Through 2012?" I will give you the names of ten famous people, and you have to tell me if they are indeed still with us as we begin 2013.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Yo-Yo Ma is most closely associated with what genre of music?"

We will get going at 8:30 PM on Wednesday night. A reminder that we will also be doing Trivia next week on Wednesday night, January 2nd at 8:30 PM, as New Year's Day will be falling on a Tuesday as we begin 2013. I hope many of you can make it to Professor Thom's on Wednesday night for our final edition of Trivia for 2012!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Continuing The Yule Log Tradition

And of course, how could I forget the Yule Log?

Channel 11 WPIX in New York shows the burning log every year on Christmas morning, from 9 AM to 1 PM. And every year I put up here. There's even a web site dedicated to it you can check out.

Once again, I want to wish you and yours all the best this Christmas.

A Very Merry Christmas To You All

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and thank you all for your support for this blog. I hope Santa Claus treats you all well.

As I do every year, here is my favorite part of what I consider the best Christmas special ever made: Linus explaining the true meaning of Christmas:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

An Historic Day For Walsh, Not AP

The amazing Minnesota Vikings pulled off an incredible 23-6 win over the playoff-bound Texans in Houston today. And now they are in a prime position to grab a Wild Card berth next week.

Incredible, especially since their ninth win of 2012 matches their combined win total for 2010 and 2011.

Adrian Peterson did not have a record-setting day, but did rush for 86 yards. It ended his streak of seven straight 100-yard games. Right now he is sitting on 1,898 yards, 207 yards from Eric Dickerson's single-season record, which he did for the Los Angeles Rams in 1984.

The Texans opened the game with a field goal, but the 3-0 lead was the only one they had on the day. The Vikings drove down the field and scored on a 3-yard TD from Christian Ponder to Kyle Rudolph. Ponder had a pretty decent day, going 16-for-30 for 174 yards and 1 TD. He also rushed for 48 yards, which was 14 yards than Houston had as a team.

The Vikings defense was excellent, allowing Houston just two field goals. They also had a terrific goal line stand in the third quarter. The Texans had it on the one yard line on first and goal, and settled for a field goal. The Vikings dominated, on both sides of the ball.

It was an historic day for Vikings kicker Blair Walsh, who has had an amazing rookie season. Walsh connected on a 56-yard field goal in the second quarter, which tied the Vikings team record for the longest FG ever. It was also his ninth FG of 50 or more yards, a new NFL record.

The 23-6 win left the Vikings with a 9-6 record and at this moment have the final Wild Card berth in the NFC. Seattle is at 9-5, and Chicago is at 9-6, as they won in Arizona on Sunday. If the Vikings win against Green Bay next Sunday, they will finish at 10-6 and get a postseason berth. If they lose, they will need help to get in. Here's more from The Daily Norseman on the Vikings ' playoff chances.

But of course, all eyes will be on the great Adrian Peterson, as he is within sight of one of the NFL's great single-season records.

It should be a fun day in the Metrodome to conclude 2012 next Sunday.

Frank Costanza Wishes You a Happy Festivus

That day is finally here.

A very Happy Festivus to you all.

Get out your pole, air those grievances, and perform those feats of strength.

The Godfather of Festivus, Frank Costanza, gives us all a history lesson, and more from that classic "Seinfeld" episode:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Red Sox To Get Hanrahan

No, not this Hanrahan:

But Joel Hanrahan, the Pittsburgh Pirates closer who has saved 76 games for the Buccos the last two years. The Sox will send Jerry Sands, who they got in the LA Dodgers megadeal, pitcher Stolmy Pimental, and two other players to be named to Pittsburgh for Hanrahan and another player to be named. Hanrahan will be a free agent after 2013, and that is why his price may not have been that high, and what this will mean to Andrew Bailey as Red Sox closer remains to be seen. The trade should be finished soon.

And a fond farewell to Cody Ross, who agreed to a 3-year, $26 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier today. Class guy who will be missed.

Father Jack Wishes You a Merry Christmas

As Christmas Day is bearing down on us, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite, as well as one of the popular posts I have ever put up.

Back in 2007, my dear friend Tracy in England sent me a very funny parody of "The 12 Days of Christmas", as done by an Irish actor named Frank Kelly. He is best known as Father Jack Hackett from the hysterical "Father Ted" TV series from the late-1990s.

I put a post with the YouTube clip, and every Christmas I get folks from around the globe looking for it and end up here. (It is particularly popular in Australia.)

So, if you have not heard this before, take a few minutes and enjoy this clip.

Merry Christmas to you all, no matter how you celebrate it!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Still Here

But the Mayans aren't.

And I'm sure this song is getting LOTS of airplay today:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Fenway Park At 100: Baseball's Hometown"

I recently bought a very nice and stylish book about the history of Fenway Park and its 100th anniversary, appropriately entitled "Fenway Park At 100: Baseball's Hometown."

It's a coffee-table style book, co-written by the fine authors Bill Nowlin and Jim Prime, who have both written many terrific books about the Sox, such as "Tales From The Red Sox Dugout" and "Ted Williams: A Splendid Life."

The book includes many photos of Fenway's glorious past, and Red Sox legends Bobby Doerr and Bill Lee wrote forwards.

It's definitely a great gift for any Red Sox fan on your Christmas list.

But I was also surprised to see two things in the book. My good friend and Red Sox Nation-NY's Governor, Chris Wertz, has a great little story in their about being taken out of school at age 7 by his brother to see a Red Sox game at Fenway.

And I was even more surprised to see my friend and fellow Red Sox blogger Jere Smith in a crowd shot in the Fenway bleachers. It's a close up shot, and I brought it to Jere's attention and immediately knew what game it was from, and even the situation that was happening when it was snapped. Good job as always on that, Jere! Here's the picture I found, with Jere on the far left:

Anyway, Mr. Nowlin and Mr. Prime have done a wonderful job in capturing the Fenway experience in not just words but pictures. Definitely check out "Fenway Park At 100: Baseball's Hometown." It will make you proud of Red Sox fandom.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Trivia Q&A: December 18

We had a terrific crowd in for our Christmas version of Trivia Night, with 20 teams taking part. We had some low scores to open Current Events, but they picked up for Christmas Trivia. It was a close night, especially going into the final round, with the top three teams separated by just two points.

But the team of Tinsel Tweens pulled off the win with 45 points, getting four of the five correct, and pulling out a one-point win over second place All I Want For Christmas Is Jay, who also got 4 of 5 in IQ Trivia. Congratulations to Brian and his team, on his first night ever at Professor Thom's Tuesday Night Trivia.  Third place went to 72 Hours Until Vacation, who finished the night with 42 points.

A reminder that for the next two weeks, Trivia Night will be on Wednesday, due to the holidays. It will be on December 26th and January 2nd at 8:30 PM, and will return to Tuesday night on January 8th.

I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous Festivus this Sunday. That is, if the world doesn't come to an end on Friday.

Best Team Name: Number of Points That Eli Did Not Score This Weekend

Current Events
1. What late singer was the top Google search for 2012?
2. What superstar rock singer's love letters to a girl friend in 1969 was sold at auction for over $300,000 last week?
3. What classic rocker's album was chosen by Rolling Stone magazine as its number 1 album of 2012 in the year-end survey?
4. What film received seven Golden Globe nominations last week, the most of any 2012 film?
5. What Asian country successfully launched its first weather satellite, as weather satellite, into space last week?
6. What English pop group was named MTV's "Artist of the Year" for 2012?
7. ESPN suspended on-air reporter Rob Parker last week after he made some controversial comments about which NFL player?

Christmas Trivia
1. What Christmas movie was primarily set at West 11th Street in Cleveland, Ohio?
2. Jazz piano player Vince Guaraldi did the music for what classic Christmas TV special?
3. How many ghosts visited Ebenezer Scrooge in the classic "A Christmas Carol?"
4. "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" is the opening line to what classic holiday tune?
5. In what country is the Christmas tree believed to have originated?
6. What rock'n'roll singer had a hit single with "Blue Christmas" in the UK in 1964, 7 years after he first recorded it?
7. In the song "The 12 Days of Christmas", my true love gave me what on the 12th day?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. All babies are born color blind.
2. Sausage is the most popular topping on pizzas in the US after cheese.
3. JFK was buried without his brain, as it was lost during his autopsy.
4. The Democratic "donkey" and Republican "elephant" images were created by the same person.
5. Theologian Martin Luther once claimed he could drive away Satan by farting.
6. The most wild turkeys in the world are found in Turkey.
7. Walt Disney has won the most Oscars in history.
8. St. Paul was the second Pope, after St. Peter.
9. Albert DeSalvo was btter known as The Hillside Strangler.
10. Crystal is the traditional gift given after 15 years of marriage.

General Knowledge
1. Purdue University is located in what US state? ( 1 pt)
2. How many millions are in one trillion? ( 1 pt)
3. What network currently broadcasts Conan O'Brien's late night talk show? ( 1 pt)
4. Geoffrey the Giraffe is what retailer's mascot? ( 2 pt)
5. What soap opera completed its 40-year run on TV in September 2011? ( 2 pt)
6. Which event occurred first: the first man walked on the moon, or the first woman went into space? ( 2 pt)
7. Who was the youngest winner in the history of "American Idol?" ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Who is the only NFL team to have gone to the Super Bowl more than once that has never lost the Big Game? ( 3 points)
2. What Oscar-nominated actor, comedian and writer was born "Albert Einstein" in 1947? ( 4 points)
3. What famous American's complete autobiography was finally released on the 100th anniversary of his death in 2010? ( 3 points)
4. What American was the first athlete to win five individual gold medals at a single Olympic Games? ( 5 points)
5. The characters of Ernie and Bert from "Sesame Street" got their names from a cab driver and a policeman from what classic 1946 film? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Whitney Houston; 2. Mick Jagger; 3. Bruce Springsteen; 4. "Lincoln;" 5. North Korea; 6. One Direction; 7. Robert Griffin III.

Christmas Trivia
1. "A Christmas Story;" 2. "A Charlie Brown Christmas;" 3. four (Past, Present, Future and Jacob Marley); 4. "The Christmas Song;" 5. Germany; 6. Elvis Presley; 7. 12 drummers drumming.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. false, pepperoni; 3. true; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, US; 7. true; 8. false, St. Linus; 9. false, Boston Strangler; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. Indiana; 2. one million; 3. TBS; 4. Toys "R" Us; 5. "All My Children;" 6. first woman in space; 7. Jordin Sparks.

IQ Trivia
1. San Francisco 49ers (5-0); 2. Albert Brooks; 3. Mark Twain; 4. Eric Heiden; 5. "It's a Wonderful Life."

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Christmas Trivia Tradition Continues

Tuesday Night Trivia at Professor Thom's this week will feature our annual "Christmas Trivia" Special Category, seven questions connected with my favorite holiday. And I'm sorry, there will be no Festivus questions on Tuesday. Maybe next year.

The Q Train lightning round will have "True or False Trivia," which was postponed from last week.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What network currently broadcasts Conan O'Brien's late-night talk show?"

We'll get going right around 8:30 PM. A reminder that starting next week for two weeks over the holidays, Trivia Night will be on Wednesday: December 26th and January 2nd at 8:30 PM. We will return to our usual Tuesday night on January 8th. I hope many of you can make it out for a great night that includes Christmas Trivia on Tuesday!

Red Sox Add Drew

No, not the Drew you maybe thinking of.

The Red Sox agreed with shortstop Stephen Drew, the 29-year-old younger brother of the now-retired J.D., to a one-year, $9.5 million contract on Monday. It's another signing that fits the Red Sox "mold", as it's another low-risk move, bringing in another veteran on a short-term deal.

Drew, who split time between Arizona and Oakland in 2012, suffered a badly broken ankle in 2011, and has struggled to get back to form since.

His signing probably means that Jose Iglesias will begin 2013 at Pawtucket. Alex Speier has a good take on the Drew signing.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


If I were Eric Dickerson, I'd be rather worried tonight.

Adrian Peterson had yet another historic day in St. Louis on Sunday, running for 212 yards in leading the surging Vikings to a 36-22 win over the St. Louis Rams.

AP did it on 24 carries, and scored the second Vikings TD on an 82-yard run from scrimmage. He also had a 52-yard run, that led to the last of Blair Walsh's five field goals, and locked up the win.

The Vikings scored their first TD on a 5-yard run by Christian Ponder. Ponder had a better game than he had in last week's win over Chicago, going 17-for-24 for 131 yards, and did not throw any interceptions.

The game was all Vikings from start to finish. They had a 30-7 halftime lead. The Rams scored two fourth quarter TDs to make it a 33-22 score, but Peterson's second long run late in the 4th put it on ice.

It was also another big day for Walsh, who hit three of his five FG from 50 yards or better.

The Vikings are now 8-6, and are tied with Chicago for second in the NFC North. They are also tied with Dallas and the New York Giants for the final wild card slot.

The Vikings take on the Texans in Houston next Sunday. Houston wrapped the AFC South with a win earlier today, so it won't be an important game for them.

But now the big focus will be on Peterson's quest to break Eric Dickerson's 1984 rushing record of 2,105 yards he set in 1984 with the Los Angeles Rams. AP now needs 293 yards in the final two games to reach the record, as he now has 1,812 yards to lead the NFL.

AP is a tank right now. I wouldn't bet against him reaching the record. Don't bet Eric Dickerson isn't a tad bit concerned tonight.

"You Don't Know Bo"

Last night I watched one of those terrific ESPN "30 For 30" films, this one called "You Don't Know Bo." (You may remember I appeared in one: "Four Days In October," about the great Red Sox 2004 comeback.)

If you get the chance, check it out, as it is about the great Bo Jackson. The only criticism I have is that it seemed a little too short. But it brought back some great memories, especially this terrific Nike commercial from 1989:

Wayne Gretzky's "no" still makes me bust out laughing, and "Bo, you don't know diddly" from the late great Bo Diddly is still a classic.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dempster Agrees To Two Years

The Red Sox added another solid starter and good clubhouse presence by agreeing to terms with veteran righthander Ryan Dempster.

Dempster had originally turned the Red Sox down last week on a two-year deal, but this morning the rumors ran rampant the two sides were close to a deal, which turned out to be two years, at $26.5 million.

Dempster has been pretty reliable, working at least 200 innings in four of the last five years. He was 12-8 with a 3.38 ERA with the Cubs and Rangers the last two years.

I also remember that Dempster got hurt a few years ago trying to leap over a dugout fence to join in one one of those silly "walkoff" celebrations. He wound up injuring his toe and missed one month in 2009.

Dempster figures to be the number three starter, behind Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.

Still no word yet on the mystery behind the holdup over Mike Napoli's deal. Sources seem to think it is over the language to the contract in regard to injuries. Ben Cherington was mum about it at the press conference that introduced Shane Victorino at Fenway earlier today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

There'll Be No Tito/Youk Reunion

Those wacky Yankees, they can't stay away from former World Champion Red Sox players.

Kevin Youkilis, who will be 34 in March, agreed to a one-year, $12 million deal with New York yesterday. He joins such former Sox champions as Johnny Damon, Alan Embree, Mark Bellhorn, Mike Myers and Derek Lowe who made a pit stop in the Bronx on their way to retirement. I can't say I'm upset with this move, as Youk is clearly on the back-nine of his MLB career, and isn't nearly the player he once was. I was really hoping Youk would have a reunion with Terry Francona in Cleveland, as the Indians even offered a two-year deal.

But that was not meant to be, especially after the Indians signed Mark Reynolds. Listen, I have a lot of respect for Youk, and I understand why he went to New York. They are a contender and the Indians are not. And of course, he is a businessman and it was a good deal for him.

However, not all Yankee fans are exactly jumping for joy at this move. My friend Lisa Swan at Subway Squawkers sure isn't, and she explains why. And she points out the Yankees have now invested a staggering $40 million just at third base for 2013 alone.

It will be interesting to see how Youk is treated by the Fenway Faithful on his return to Boston next season. I'm sure most right-thinking fans understand his decision.

But like me they are disappointed he went to the Bronx.

Trivia Q&A: December 11

It was an odd night of Trivia on Tuesday, as Trivia was delayed nearly 45 minutes due to the fans who were in the bar for Michigan's basketball. The bar gave away t-shirts and tickets to the Wolverines game at the Barclays Center on Saturday. When we did get going, 14 teams were in (I'm guessing the crowds will dip a bit with the onset of the holidays), and we decided to go with just four categories, due to the late start. (The Q Train was bumped, but will return next week.)

We had some strong numbers for both Q-Tip Trivia and General Knowledge, and the team in second going into IQ Trivia, Manhattan Murder Mystery: Midtown Edition pulled out the win by getting 4 of 5 in the final round. Another nice job by Alex and his team, getting 46 points.

Second place went to What Do Tomorrow and Michael Jackson Have In Common? They Both Have Three Twelves At The Same Time with 42 points, and third place went to The Rural Juror with 41 points.

We return to our usual 8:30 PM time next week, and over Christmas and New Year's, Trivia will be on two Wednesdays: December 26th and January 2nd.

Best Team Name: The Real Fiscal Cliff Clavin

Current Events
1. What 1990s sitcom was voted the funniest sitcom of all-time, just edging out "The Honeymooners" in a poll by Vanity Fair magazine?
2. What Oscar-nominated actor earned the dubious title of "The Most Overpaid Actor in Hollywood" for 2012 by Forbes after a recent series of box office flops?
3. A federal appeals court recently ruled that Disney must pay $319 million to the creators of what popular game show, after they used "creative accounting" to hide massive profits?
4. The state news agency of what country last week reported that archeologists there stumbled across an ancient "unicorn lair", right outside the country's capital?
5. What state's House of Representatives passed two controversial "right to work" bills earlier today, becoming the 24th state in the US to do so?
6. Which NBA team plans to change its nickname to the Pelicans next season, which happens to be the state bird of the state they play in?
7. Possession of marijuana for personal use of people over the age of 21 became legal in what US state last week?

Q-Tip Trivia
1. Which of these foreign countries officially use the US dollar as currency? a. El Salvador; b. Panama; c. The Philippines; d. Vietnam.
2. Which of these Clint Eastwood-starring films did he also direct? a. Unforgiven; b. The Bridges of Madison County; c. Play Misty For Me; d. Gran Torino.
3. Which of these NFL teams have won the Super Bowl at least 3 times? a. Miami Dolphins; b. Denver Broncos; c. San Francisco 49ers; d. New England Patriots.
4. Which of the following US presidents are left-handed? a. Barack Obama; b. George W. Bush; c. Bill Clinton; d. George H.W. Bush.
5. Which of the following have hosted "Saturday Night Live" more than 10 times? a. Alec Baldwin; b. Bill Murray; c. Tom Hanks; d. Steve Martin.
6. Which of the following areas of NYC are found in the borough of Queens? a. Bellerose; b. Gravesend; c. Norwood; d. Tottenville.
7. As of 2012, which of these countries have not abolished capital punishment? a. UK; b. Mexico; c. Italy; d. Australia.

General Knowledge
1. What does "D" stand for in HDTV? ( 1 pt)
2. Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were the secret identities of what superheroes? ( 1 pt)
3. Between 7-Eleven and McDonald's, which has more worldwide outlets? ( 1 pt)
4. What is the flattest continent on Earth? ( 2 pt)
5. 78% of the world's atmosphere is made up of what element? ( 2 pt)
6. What river starts at the northern end of Lake Itasca in Minnesota? ( 2 pt)
7. Which US state is the largest milk producer in the nation? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Who is the only US president since Herbert Hoover who has not been named Time magazine's Person of the Year? ( 5 points)
2. Which 1980 Emmy nominee for Outstanding Lead Actor was playing the same role on TV more than three decades later in 2012? ( 4 points)
3. Which US state that has no ocean coastline borders five states that all have one? ( 4 points)
4. The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were found across three continents. Which continent was home to more wonders than the other two? ( 3 points)
5. The Sea of Kinnereth is also known by what more well-known name? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. "Seinfeld;" 2. Eddie Murphy; 3. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire;" 4. North Korea; 5. Michigan; 6. New Orleans Hornets; 7. Washington.

Q-Tip Trivia
1. a,b; 2. all; 3. c,d; 4. a,c,d; 5. a,d; 6. a; 7. none.

General Knowledge
1. definition; 2. Batman & Robin; 3. 7-Eleven; 4. Australia; 5. nitrogen; 6. Mississippi; 7. California.

IQ Trivia
1. Gerald Ford; 2. Larry Hagman; 3. Tennessee; 4. Asia; 5. Sea of Galilee.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Exercise Caution When Answering Q-Tip

This Tuesday night, Trivia at Professor Thom's will feature "Q-Tip Trivia," that is the popular round that features seven multiple choice, general knowledge questions. 1,2,3 all 4 or none can be correct. You get a point for each correct answer you give. (One point if the correct answer is zero.) However, if you give any wrong choices, it nullifies the entire question and you get none for that one. So you have to be careful.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What is the flattest continent on Earth?"

We will get started right around 8:30 PM. A quick note to everyone: since both Christmas Day and New Year's Day fall on a Tuesday, we will be having Trivia on Wednesdays during the holidays. We will be having Trivia next Tuesday, but after that, the next two weeks, Trivia will be on Wednesday, December 26th and January 2nd, both at 8:30 PM. We return to our usual Tuesday night schedule on January 8th.

Hope to see many of you tomorrow night!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

AP Sets His Sights On 2,000

I was on Twitter earlier today, just before the Vikings-Bears game in the Metrodome began, and I saw one of these guys making his "bold predictions" about what would happen in the game.

This guy (and I wish I could remember his name) said, "The Bears will hold Adrian Peterson under 50 yards rushing today." As you might have guessed, I laughed that one off.

And I was in hysterics right after the first play from scrimmage happened. Christian Ponder handed off to Adrian Peterson, and AP ripped off a 51-yard gain.

How about that: AP blew up this guy's prediction on the Vikings' first play from scrimmage!

It was another banner day for the NFL's best running back, as he rushed for 154 yards on 31 carries. He also scored the Vikings' first two TDs. Peterson now has 1,600 yards rushing, and needs an average of 133 yards per game in the three remaining to reach the magic mark of 2,000 for the season. Truly astounding for a player who badly blew out his knee late in the 2011 season.

The Vikings had a 14-0 in the first quarter and the defense took over. It was also another rough day for Ponder, who went 11-for-17 for just 91 yards with one interception. He was booed lustily by the Vikings fans, even during the pregame warmups.

The Vikings scored their third TD in the 3rd quarter, on a 56-yard interception return by Notre Dame's own Harrison Smith, which made it 21-7.

Chicago scored their second TD with less than 2 minutes left, as backup QB Jason Campbell threw a 16-yard TD to Brandon Marshall. Campbell came in late for the injured Jay Cutler. But it was too little, too late, as the Vikings recovered an onside kick, ran out the clock and had a 21-14 win.

The win makes the Vikings 7-6, with 3 games remaining. They are still alive for a playoff berth, but they may have to run the table to ensure it, as 9-7 may not get them in. Nothing easy in those games, as they go to St. Louis and Houston, and then the season finale at the Metrodome against Green Bay.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

John & Tower: Gone But Never Forgotten

It was 32 years ago today that John Lennon was taken from us.

In John's memory, I present a really cool promo ad he did for something else close to my heart that is also gone: Tower Records.

John did a commercial for my old employer back in 1973 to promote his then-new album, "Mind Games."

We miss you, John. And Tower, too:

Friday, December 07, 2012

You Can Never Have Enough Pitchers From Japan

The Red Sox may have let a pitcher from Japan walk away this year (Daisuke Matsuzaka), but they will welcome another in 2013, as reliever Koji Uehara agreed to a one-year, $4.25 million deal with the Sox to conclude the Winter Meetings in Nashville yesterday.

Uehara is no kid, as he's 38-years-old. But he has been terrific since coming to America four years ago. In his time with the Orioles and Rangers, he has a 2.89 ERA, and an amazing K/BB ratio. Last year with Texas in 36 innings, he struck out 43 while walking only three. In four seasons, he has struck out 231, while passing just 29 in 211 innings.

As my friends over at the BLOHARDS pointed out today, Alfredo Aceves walked more batters last April 21st (four) than Uehara walked the entire season (three).

He's a definite upgrade to the pen, and should be a good influence on Junichi Tazawa, who very quietly had a terrific season out of the Sox pen in 2012, and may well be a set-up man for Andrew Bailey this season.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Dave Brubeck Dies at 91

I was terribly sad to hear that the great Dave Brubeck died today in Connecticut of heart failure, just one day short of his 92nd birthday.

Mr. Brubeck was a giant in the world of jazz, and his "Time Out", recorded in 1959, is one of the best-selling jazz albums of all-time, with the famous "Take Five" from that album his best known song of all-time.

"Time Out" was the first jazz album I ever owned, as I got it when I worked at Tower Records in the late 1980s. It had just been re-released on cassette (remember those?) and a friend (I can't remember which one) recommended I give it a listen. I played it over and over and over on my Walkman (remember those, too?). And I was hooked.

Over the years I've worked for a few music distributors, and I've picked up many Dave Brubeck albums as promo copies, and I've also bought a number of his classics as well. I now have 25 of his albums. This past weekend, I was going through a box of CDs I keep in storage, and found a Brubeck album that somehow missed getting into my iPod: "Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond." It is an album of live songs from the early 1950s of Dave with the great saxophonist and friend Paul Desmond, who was part of his great quartet.

And just this morning, I was sitting down to listen to some new music that was in my iPod, and some Christmas tunes I had not listened to yet this Christmas season. "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" by Dave Brubeck was on my iPod when I got the news online of Mr. Brubeck's passing. An odd coincidence.

Godspeed to one of the legendary names in the world of jazz, and to honor the great Mr. Brubeck, here he is with the Quartet doing one of my favorite songs, "Koto Song", live in Germany in 1966:

Another Day, Another 3 For $39 Million

The Flyin' Hawaiian will be at Fenway next season.

The Red Sox signed another outfielder yesterday, with Shane Victorino agreeing to a three-year, $39 million deal with the Sox. (The same deal Mike Napoli agreed to on Monday.)

It is believed Victorino will play right field. But of course, he has plenty of experience in center. And that just maybe the case should the Sox find Jacoby Ellsbury a new home before the Winter Meetings end tomorrow (or even after that).

It is very clear that Ben Cherington is remaking the Sox with good players on shorter term deals, and guys with good clubhouse reputations. The lessons of the last two years have clearly been understood.

Trivia Q&A: December 4

19 teams took part in Tuesday Night Trivia last night. Always nice to see many of the same loyal faces week in and week out, and some new folks joining us as well.

I knew that the Q Train lightning round would be one of our toughest ones ever, and I was not wrong. The high score was 7 for 2012 Album Titles Trivia, and 7 teams got a grand total of 1 correct. I guess that is a sad reflection of the miserable state of current pop music.The scores bounced back nicely in the next round, and we had an occurence that rarely happens, and it also happened last week.

The team of Better Late Than Pregnant got all five correct in IQ Trivia, and they jumped over the top five teams to win the night by four points, with 44 in total. (Rarely does a team outside the Top 5 going into IQ Trivia win the night.) Second place went to I, John Quinn, Am Writing a Biography of Every Person in the Sooner State, called "OK Everyone" (which also won Best Team Name) with 40 points, and third place went to Fist Deep In Your Mouth with 38 points.

Current Events
1. What famous American athlete broke the rules at a swanky golf course last week by wearing cargo pants & refused to change them when asked & won't be invited back to play there?
2. Which prolific author did the Hollywood Reporter choose as number 1 on its list of the 25 most powerful authors in Hollywood for 2012?
3. NASA scientists last week confirmed that a vast amount of ice was found by a probe at the north pole of what planet in our solar system?
4. What actor called the New York Post "morally bankrupt trash" last week after they took the side of a woman who was arrested again for stalking him in New York?
5. Forbes magazine recently listed what rap star as the highest-earning musician for the year 2012?
6. Which former US president has been hospitalized over the last 10 days with complications due to bronchitis?
7. What world leader launched his own personal Twitter account yesterday?

December 4th Trivia
1. On this day in 1956, the "Million Dollar Quartet" of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash got together for the only time at Sun Studios in what city?
2. In 1918, who became the first US president to travel to Europe while in office?
3. In 1980 on this day, what rock band officially disbanded after their drummer died earlier in September?
4. On this date in 1991, what airline, which had been the largest international air carrier in the US since 1927, went bankrupt and ceased operations?
5. In 1978, Dianne Feinstein, the current US senator, became the first female mayor of what major US city?
6. Jeff Bridges was born on this date in 1949. For which film did he win an Oscar for Best Actor in 2009?
7. In 1991, American journalist Terry Anderson was released from captivity after spending over six years as a hostage in what Middle Eastern country?

2012 Album Titles ("The Q Train")
1. Wrecking Ball
2. The Truth About Love
4. Tuskegee
5.The Spirit Indestructible
6. Kisses On The Bottom
7. Unapologetic
8. A Different Kind of Truth
9. Uno
10. Lotus

General Knowledge
1. "D" is what number in Roman numerals? ( 1 pt)
2. Who succeeded Jack Paar as host of "The Tonight Show" in 1962? ( 1 pt)
3. On a baseball scorecard, what does a "K" signify? ( 1 pt)
4. The Blue Devils is the sports teams' nickname of what major university? ( 2 pt)
5. What river connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean? ( 2 pt)
6. What news website was established in 2005 and acquired by AOL in 2011? ( 2 pt)
7. Who was the 13th President of the United States and the last member of the Whig Party to hold the office? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What music star, born December 13, 1989, considers the number 13 her lucky number, often writing it on her hand for concerts? ( 4 points)
2. Charles Prior Hall invented what popular piece of furniture in 1968? ( 4 points)
3. What department store chain was founded in 1902 in Wyoming and was originally called "The Golden Rule Store?" ( 5 points)
4. The best-selling car of all-time was built by which automaker? ( 4 points)
5. When the first US Census was taken in 1790, what city was determined to be America's largest city? ( 3 points)

Current Events
1. Michael Jordan; 2. Stephen King; 3. Mercury; 4. Alec Baldwin; 5. Dr. Dre; 6. George H.W. Bush; 7. Pope Benedict XVI.

December 4th Trivia
1. Memphis; 2. Woodrow Wilson; 3. Led Zeppelin; 4. Pan Am; 5. San Francisco; 6. "Crazy Heart;" 7. Lebanon.

2012 Album Titles ("The Q Train")
1. Bruce Springsteen; 2. Pink; 3. Madonna; 4. Lionel Richie; 5. Nelly Furtado; 6. Paul McCartney; 7. Rhianna; 8. Van Halen; 9. Green Day; 10. Christina Aguilera.

General Knowledge
1. 500; 2. Johnny Carson; 3. strikeout; 4. Duke; 5. St. Lawrence River; 6. The Huffington Post; 7. Millard Fillmore.

IQ Trivia
1. Taylor Swift; 2. waterbed; 3. J.C. Penney; 4. Toyota Carolla; 5. Philadelphia.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Bob Costas and Jovan Belcher

As you all know, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher committed two absolutely horrific acts of violence last Saturday: after an argument with his girlfriend and mother of his child, Kasandra Perkins, he shot her to death in their apartment, and then drove to the Chiefs practice facility at Arrowhead Stadium and killed himself in front of three team officials.

The murder-suicide was the topic of Bob Costas' halftime talk during Sunday night's game on NBC, and it has garnered all kinds of publicity, and a lot of it negative.

Costas, who I have a lot of respect for, talked about "changing the gun culture" and quoted Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock, who believes that both Belcher and his girlfriend would "still be alive" if Belcher did not have a gun.

Costas does commentaries at halftime every week during the Sunday night game, and this was obviously on the minds of everyone who is a football fan. So I certainly respect his right to give his opinion on that subject. I think those who suggest he be fired by NBC for doing it are being silly (and are just angry because they disagree from where he's coming from).

However, I couldn't disagree with him and Whitlock more about how both Belcher and Perkins would both be alive if Belcher didn't own a gun. You can't know that for sure. Obviously, the argument so enraged Belcher (it is rumored to be over his seeing another woman), that he was capable of murder. If he had no firearm, he could have killed Perkins with a baseball bat, a golf club, a knife from a kitchen drawer, throwing her through or out a window, or even with his own fists, as he was a 6'4" NFL linebacker. Too many women in America have been victims of domestic violence, and many have been killed by other means than by guns.

And about the gun culture, unfortunately America and guns have gone together long before the United States even became a nation. It is estimated that there are as many guns here in America as people. The Second Amendment riles up people on both sides of the issue, and always will. I have never owned a gun, or even fired one on a target range. I'm not a big believer in guns.

Different states have different laws about guns. New York has some of the toughest laws in the US. But in many states getting a gun can be as easy as buying a loaf of bread. Outright banning guns is no solution, as it will be like Prohibition in the 1920s. Instead of alcohol, it will be firearms, and people will get a hold of them even if they are illegal. It would just be something organized crime can exploit. And it certainly wouldn't take away guns from the bad guys.

A solution to the "gun problem?" I can't give you that. It is so complex, and guns, whether legal or illegal, will always be a part of us. Belcher's gun was legally purchased, and he had no history of domestic violence or run-ins with the police. So there was nothing to suggest that Belcher was a ticking time-bomb of some kind. What set him off? We may never know. Did the violence of pro football affect him in some way? Could it have been a case of "roid rage?" Again, I can't answer that.

All I know is that a three-month old girl lost both her mother and father in two senseless acts of violence.

And there's only ONE person to blame in this whole tragic circumstance: Jovan Belcher. And him alone.

I have no problem with Bob Costas discussing the matter on national TV last Sunday, albeit very briefly. I certainly wouldn't expect him to have any answers to what happened in Kansas City on Saturday morning. It's a terrible tragedy that happened, but it is one in a long list of tragedies that have happened in this country involving guns.

And unfortunately, it won't be the last.

Monday, December 03, 2012

We'll Test Your 2012 Music Knowledge This Week

Trivia Night at Professor Thom's will feature "This Day In History Trivia", or better known as "December 4th Trivia" this week as the Special Category. It will be seven questions based on the day in history.

The Q Train lightning round will test your knowledge of music released this year, as it will be "2012 Albums Trivia." I will give you the names of ten albums released in 2012, and you have to tell me the pop/rock/R&B artist who released it. (Sorry, but "Privateering", one of my favorite albums of 2012 by the great Mark Knopfler, won't be one of the choices.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Who succeeded Jack Paar as host of The Tonight Show in 1962?"

We'll get going right around 8:30 PM. We've had some nice crowds in since we were derailed by the storms a few weeks ago, and I hope to see many of you for a great night of Trivia on Tuesday!

Napoli's On Board

The Red Sox and catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli have reached an agreement on a three-year, $39 million deal.

Not a big surprise, as Napoli appeared to be high on the Red Sox radar.

Napoli's numbers at Fenway as opposing player are impressive: 19-for-62, with 7 home runs in 74 plate appearances.

I bet Napoli plays most of the time at first, but will probably also see a good number of games behind the plate. This move also virtually assures the Sox will move one of their catchers in a deal, most likely Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Ponder Kills a Memorable AP Day

Adrian Peterson had one of the best games of his career on Sunday, rushing for 210 yards on 21 carries. It was the third time he's reached the 200-yard mark in a game in his stellar career so far.

And the Vikings still couldn't win.

Green Bay emerged victorious, 23-14. The Vikes had the lead at halftime, 14-10, after the Packers jumped out to a 10-0 lead after their first two possessions.

The Vikings were down 10-7 in the second quarter when Peterson ran off right tackle, broke a couple of tackles and was gone down the sidelines. It was an 82-yard TD, the longest run from scrimmage ever.

And his first carry in the second half was for 48 yards, and it put the Vikings in the red zone, with a golden opportunity to expand their lead.

It all went up in smoke when Christian Ponder was intercepted by Morgan Burnett in the end zone on an ill-advised pass. Green Bay turned into three points.

In the fourth quarter, another long Peterson run set up what looked to be another score, with the Vikings down 20-14. And Ponder threw another interception, again by Burnett, and that took the steam out of the Vikings, and again, the Packers added to their lead with another field goal.

It was a crushing defeat for the Vikings. They played well enough to win, but Ponder's interceptions killed them. He was just 12-for-25 for 119 yards, and fans are now grumbling for a QB change, to Joe Webb. Head coach Leslie Frazier said after the game that Ponder would get the start next Sunday against the Bears at the Metrodome.

The loss drops the Vikings to 6-6, as their playoff chances fade with the harder schedule they are playing. They trail both Chicago and Green Bay, who are tied for the NFC North lead, by two games. Four games remain: Chicago, at St. Louis and Houston, and the season finale at home with the Packers.

I'd still be happy if they ended the season at 8-8. It's still five games better than they were in 2011.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Jonny Gomes: Grease Man

Here's the quote of the off-season so far, from new Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, on his role with the 2013 Sox (courtesy of Pete Abraham):

"How does a big machine run? A big machine runs with a lot of grease. You get a tall building with all kinds of fancy windows. It’s that foundation that keeps that building up. I always say I represent the grease that runs the machine, not the machine. I represent the foundation, not the star at the top."

Got a feeling Mr. Gomes should be good for a colorful quote or two during the 2013 season.

And ready or not, the Winter Meetings kick off in Nashville tomorrow.