Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Yep, Slappy's in PED trouble yet again.

Alex Rodriguez was one of a number of MLB players named in a report about a clinic in South Florida (an anti-aging one) who supplied them with PEDs.

Yep, Slappy was named as a PED user in 2009 and was raked over the coals. You'd think this guy would have learned his lesson. But noooooo.....

There is speculation that the Yankees may attempt to void the remainder of Rodriguez' contract, which has five more years and something like $114 million to run on it. That will simply never happen. The players union will fight it tooth and nail, and no team has ever attempted to void a deal of someone either suspected or caught using PEDs.

The Yankees are simply stuck with him until 2017. The contract they re-signed him to after he opted out in 2007 will go down as the worst in baseball history. Exactly who were they bidding against after he opted out? I recall NO ONE else offering him a better contract (or even one close to what the Yankees offered) than 10 years and $300 million.

I'm on an email list with a number of friends of mine who are Red Sox fans, and we all breathe a sigh of relief every time Slappy gets into a mess of his own making that he never put on a Red Sox uniform. And we all collectively hope the Yankees don't succeed in voiding the rest of his contract.

My friend Lisa Swan at Subway Squawkers has a good column today about the latest A-Rod mess.

Trivia Q&A: January 29

We had 21 teams in for Trivia on a busy night that saw the crowds return on the night when the weather wasn't bad at all. We had some low scores for Current Events, but stronger ones for Super Bowl Trivia and TV Shows Set In NYC. Going into IQ Trivia we had the top six separated by six points.

But it was a team outside that top six that had a fabulous IQ round, A Whole Lot of Confusion, the only team that got four of five correct, and won that night with 43 points. Nice job as they took the title by one point.

Second place was a tie between Lady Mary's Side Boob and Silver Snakes. And a rare event happened again this month: both teams got the tie-breaking question correct (Lucille Ball was on the cover of TV Guide 39 times.) But one of the Trivia regulars (not involved in the tie-breaker) whispered to me that the Russian language has 39 letters, so I asked that question, and Silver Snakes was closest, and wound up in second place.

Best Team Name: The 49ers and Ravens Should Be a Good Opening Act For The Beyonce Show

An important announcement about the next two weeks: Because of some important Michigan basketball games the next two Tuesday nights, we will be doing Trivia on the next two Wednesdays, February 6th and 13th at 8:30 PM. The Sneak Peek will go up the previous days. We will return to our usual Tuesday night on February 19th at 8:30 PM.

Current Events
1. The Boeing Dreamliner airliner was recently grounded worldwide due to concerns about the safety of their lithium-ion batteries. By what number is the Dreamliner also known by?
2. What was the top free iPhone app of 2012, and just over 50% of all iPhone users now have the app?
3. Pop music legend Tina Turner announced last week that she is giving up her US passport and will receive citizenship in what European country she has lived in since 1995?
4. J.J. Abrams, who directed the last Star Trek film, was named last week to produce and direct the next film in what movie series?
5. Nine black former contestants are suing what reality TV show after they claimed they were all forced off the program because of racism?
6. Over 50 people were killed in a prison riot in what South American country last Saturday?
7. Which drama film won the "Best Cast in a Motion Picture" award at the SAG Awards on Sunday night?

Super Bowl Trivia
1. Green Bay won the first Super Bowl in 1967. Who won the second Super Bowl? a. New York Jets; b. Kansas City Chiefs; c. Oakland Raiders; d. Green Bay Packers.
2. Who did the New England Patriots beat to win their first Super Bowl? a. Chicago Bears; b. St. Louis Rams; c. Carolina Panthers; d. Philadelphia Eagles.
3. The Baltimore Ravens, one of this year's Super Bowl teams, moved in 1996 from what city to Baltimore? a. Cleveland; b. Houston; c. Los Angeles; d. St. Louis.
4. The Ravens won their only Super Bowl title over what team in 2001? a. Dallas Cowboys; b. New York Giants; c. Minnesota Vikings; d. St. Louis Rams.
5. How many Super Bowl titles have the Giants and Jets won in their histories combined? a. 3; b. 4; c. 5; d. 6.
6. Which TV network is broadcasting this Sunday's Super Bowl? a. CBS; b. NBC; c. Fox; d. ABC.
7. In 1996, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh guest-starred on what sitcom, playing the cousin of one of the show's stars? a. Ellen; b. Saved By The Bell; c. Cybill; d. The Nanny.

TV Shows Set In NYC Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Breaking Bad
2. White Collar
3. Mad Men
4. Person of Interest
5. Big Band Theory
6. Elementary
7. The Good Wife
8. Modern Family
9. Smash
10. Homeland

General Knowledge
1. The Marianas Trench is located in what ocean? ( 1 pt)
2. Harpo Productions is a company founded by what famous person? ( 1 pt)
3. In the TV series "Married With Children", what was Al Bundy's profession? ( 1 pt)
4. "I think, therefore, I am" is a statement credited to what philosopher? ( 2 pt)
5. What letter is the most common blood type in humans? ( 2 pt)
6. What is the most common type of wood used to make baseball bats? ( 2 pt)
7. At the age of 29, who was the oldest winner on "American Idol?" ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is better known by what name? ( 4 points)
2. William G. Morgan invented what team sport in Holyoke, MA in 1895? ( 4 points)
3. "The Daily Diary of the American Dream" is the slogan of what newspaper? ( 3 points)
4. In 1860, what board game, still available today, was founded by Milton Bradley and was his first board game? ( 5 points)
5. What woman has been on the most covers of TV Guide in its history? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. 787; 2. YouTube; 3. Switzerland; 4. "Star Wars;" 5. "American Idol;" 6. Venezuela; 7. "Argo."

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

TV Shows Set In NYC Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. no; 2. yes; 3. yes; 4. yes; 5. no; 6. yes; 7. no; 8. no; 9. yes; 10. no.

General Knowledge
1. Pacific; 2. Oprah Winfrey; 3. Shoe salesman; 4. Rene Descartes; 5. O; 6. ash; 7. Taylor Hicks.

IQ Trivia
1. Gateway Arch; 2. volleyball; 3. The Wall Street Journal; 4. The Game of Life; 5. Lucille Ball.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Pigskin Tradition Continues

Tuesday Night Trivia at Professor Thom's will feature "Super Bowl Trivia" this week, seven questions connected in some way to the Big Game. We do this every year on the Tuesday before the game, so the tradition continues. For those of you who are not big football fans, the questions will all be multiple choice (or multiple guess, take your pick).

The Q Train lightning round will test your TV knowledge. With "TV Shows Location Trivia," I will give you the names of ten current TV shows, and you have to tell me if they are set in New York City or not.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The Marianas Trench is located in what ocean?"

We'll get Trivia rolling right around 8:30 PM, and the weather should be better on Tuesday night. The weather has played havoc with us the last few weeks, so I hope to see many of you tomorrow night!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nine Days Until The Truck Departs

Here's my 4200th post of The Mighty Quinn Media Machine, and a few odds and ends as we wait out this deep freeze for The Truck to leave Fenway Park on February 5th.

Pedro Martinez is back in the fold at Fenway, as he was named a Special Assistant to GM Ben Cherington. Pedro will work with the young pitchers and scout in his native Dominican Republic.

Ryan Kalish will miss at least the entire Spring Training, as he felt pain in his non-throwing shoulder and will have surgery next week. He may also miss the first few months of the season as well. It has been a rough go for Kalish over the last two years, as this will be his third surgery in 16 months. Kalish was expected to platoon in left field with Jonny Gomes.

The Sox signed Ryan Sweeney to a minor league contract this past week after the news of Kalish's upcoming surgery.

The rosters for the 2013 World Baseball Classic were released, and there will be four Red Sox players taking part in it, beginning March 2nd: Alfredo Aceves (Mexico), Shane Victorino (US), Jose De La Torre (Puerto Rico) and Xander Bogaerts (Netherlands).

Once again, the Red Sox locked up all of their arbitration-eligible players, with pitcher Craig Breslow the last one, signing a two-year deal. The Sox have not had to go to arbitration with a player since 2002 with the immortal Rolando Arrojo.

And the best of luck to two friends of mine, Chris Wertz and Gary Titus, who were both invited to try out last week for the vacant Red Sox public address announcer job. The Sox also held public tryouts this past Saturday. Chris, who is also Red Sox Nation-New York's governor, did the Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway as the PA announcer this past September 11th.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hangin' With Tito

I had the pleasure of meeting the great Terry Francona at a book signing in Manhattan yesterday.

Fortunately, we all lined up inside the Barnes & Noble store on 54th Street and not outside. (It barely hit 20 degrees.) There had to be at least 100 people in the line, many wearing Red Sox hats and shirts. I met my friends Gareth and Mel (with her young son), and to my surprise, they were the only folks I recognized.

I was in line about 30 minutes when I finally got a few moments with The Greatest Red Sox Manager In My Lifetime. He autographed his new book, and I said the same thing I said to John Henry and Tom Werner (who are no longer Tito's best friends) when I met them at Professor Thom's in 2007: "Thank you for making my life in New York City so much more bearable." I got a laugh out of him, as I did Henry and Werner.

I shook hands with him and wished him all the best in Cleveland. Also there was his Tito's co-author, Dan Shaughnessy. As you know, CHB is not one of my favorite people, and I want nothing to with him. I had the opportunity to meet him at Foley's Bar in Manhattan a number of years back and passed on that as well. As I was waiting in line, I noticed there were actually fans, who after meeting Tito, went up to CHB and had him autograph the book and took photos with him.

Ugh. No thank you.

I will read "Francona: The Red Sox Years" with great interest. The excerpts I have already seen have been pretty juicy. I'll have a review of the book before the season begins.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Trivia Q&A: January 22

On a brutally cold night in New York, had 11 teams come in for Trivia. (We've been hit hard on Tuesday nights over the last few months by the elements.) Many of them were regulars. I appreciate each and every one of you braving the elements to play Trivia. The weather forecast for next Tuesday is a whole lot better, so we should have a bigger crowd then.

We had some strong scores for Current Events and Second Term Presidential Trivia, but True or False was much more difficult, as the high score was just 8. But going into IQ trivia, we had the top four separated by just three points. IQ Trivia was much harder (as I promised), and only three teams got as many as three correct. But one of those teams was Silver Snakes, who wound up winning with 42 points, their very first win after many narrow misses. My congratulations to them on finally getting to the winner's circle.

Second place went to Is It Me or is Jim Always In a Good Mood When Natasha is Working? with 40 points, and we had a tie for third, with We Can't Wait For The Special Category and @Jim McGuire Can't Wait to Introduce You to His New Girlfriend as Soon as He Meets Himself (who also won for Best Team Name) with 39 points.

Current Events
1. Ken Salazar, who served what position in President Obama's cabinet, announced he was stepping down this coming March?
2. What R&B singer will perform the national anthem at this year's Super Bowl?
3. What Oscar-winning actor is set to play Joe Paterno in an upcoming biopic about the late college football coach?
4. MLB Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver died Saturday at the age of 82. Which AL team did he win four pennants with?
5. What golf star said last week he was considering retirement or moving out of California due to the new federal and state tax laws coming into effect?
6. An automobile from what classic 1960s TV series was sold at auction for $4.2 million last Saturday?
7. Ray Nagin, the former mayor of what southern city, was indicted last week on fraud, money laundering, bribery and other counts?

Second Term Presidential Trivia
1. Who was the last US president who did not finish serving out his second term in office?
2. Besides Abraham Lincoln, who was the only other president to die in office while in his second term?
3. Who was Secretary of State during the majority of George W. Bush's second term in office?
4. Before Barack Obama, who were the last two Democrats elected to a second term as president?
5. Who was the only US president who served two terms who was born in New Jersey?
6. What number amendment limited an individual to just two terms as US president?
7. Who was the second US president elected to two terms, after George Washington?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Mosquitoes have killed more humans than all the wars in history combined.
2. The first man in space was American.
3. If Facebook were a country, only China and India would have larger populations.
4. The femur is the largest bone in the human body.
5. Hamlet commits suicide in Shakespeare's famous play.
6. Beijing, China is nicknamed "The Forbidden City."
7. All dogs are color blind.
8. George Washington had wooden teeth.
9. Adult elephants cannot jump.
10. NASA invented the DustBuster.

General Knowledge
1. Wright Brothers National Memorial is located in what US state? ( 1 pt)
2. Including "Y", how many vowels are on a standard keyboard on the top row of letters? ( 1 pt)
3. Lake Titicaca is located in what continent? ( 1 pt)
4. Of the eight Hawaiian islands, which is the largest in area? ( 2 pt)
5. What is the only letter of the alphabet that does not appear in the name of a US state? ( 2 pt)
6. The highest zip code in use, 99950, is found in what US state? ( 2 pt)
7. Which WWII enemies never signed a formal peace treaty ending the conflict between the two nations? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The second largest island in the world, after Greenland, is located in what country? ( 4 points)
2. The motto of what U.S. territory is "Where America's Day Begins?" ( 3 points)
3. 60 percent of the world's horseradish is produced in a city in what US state? ( 5 points)
4. What are the two official languages of the nation of Israel? ( 4 points)
5. In 1972, who was the first woman to be named "Sportswoman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Secretary of the Interior; 2. Alicia Keys; 3. Al Pacino; 4. Baltimore Orioles; 5. Phil Mickelson; 6. "Batman;" 7. New Orleans.

Second Term Presidential Trivia
1. Richard Nixon; 2. William McKinley; 3. Condoleezza Rice; 4. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Bill Clinton; 5. Grover Cleveland; 6. 22; 7. Thomas Jefferson.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. false, Russian; 3. true; 4. true; 5. false, stabbed to death; 6. true; 7. false; 8. false; 9. true; 10. false, made by Black & Decker.

General Knowledge
1. North Carolina; 2. five (e,y,u,i,o); 3. South America; 4. Hawaii; 5. Q; 6. Alaska; 7. Japan and Russia.

IQ Trivia
1. Indonesia (New Guinea); 2. Guam; 3. Illinois (Collinsville); 4. Hebrew and Arabic; 5. Billie Jean King.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Decade With Papi/A Day With Tito

It was ten years ago today that the Red Sox signed a player who had been non-tendered by the Minnesota Twins earlier that winter, and the signing received very little attention. It was a part-time player named David Ortiz.

My friend Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times has a good article about Papi's time in Boston.

Terry Francona is doing an in-store appearance promoting his new book tomorrow at the Barnes & Noble store at the Citicorp Center on East 54th Street at 12:30 PM. I'm still hoping to be there, but the brutal weather might keep me away. We'll see. Tito's book hits the shelves today.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Two Termer Trivia On Tap This Week

This week's Tuesday Night Trivia at Professor Thom's will feature "Second Term Presidential Trivia" in honor of President Obama's second inaugural happening today. It will be seven questions concerning those presidents who have been elected at least twice.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Wright Brothers National Memorial is located in what US state?"

We will get started right around 8:30 PM. Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night for another great night of Trivia!

Friday, January 18, 2013

There Used To Be a Ballpark Right Here

Last Monday I did my first background acting role of 2013 in Brooklyn, up at the Brooklyn Museum in Park Slope. As I was preparing for it, I realized that it was just a few blocks from a very iconic part of Brooklyn that I had never been to before.

The site that once stood a magnificent ballpark: Ebbets Field.

I've lived in Brooklyn my whole life and was never there. I grew up in a family that had roots in the ballpark. My parents, my grandparents, aunts, and uncles all went to Ebbets Field. Over the years, I have heard stories about the legends that played there. My grandfather told me about going there as a kid in the 1920s. My dad's favorite player was Gil Hodges. My mother once told me about going to Ebbets Field on her birthday, the same night they honored her favorite player, Pee Wee Reese, with a birthday cake because it was also his birthday, too.

Ebbets Field disappeared forever two years before I was born. Brooklyn has never recovered from, or gotten over, the loss of the beloved Dodgers. Brooklyn is now the home of the rookie league team, the Cyclones, the Mets' farm team that plays in Coney Island. They do a wonderful job remembering Brooklyn's baseball past. The name of Walter O'Malley will be cursed forever in the borough, and my dad will never talk about him without such colorful words as "that sonofabitch" coming from him.

I'm sorry I never got the chance to experience what Ebbets Field was like. (Even had the Dodgers stayed and built a new stadium in Brooklyn, Ebbets Field probably still would have long gone by the time my baseball fandom began.) I remember in 1986 on the first time I went to Fenway Park, I called my dad up from Boston after the game and told him about the night I spent there, and one of the things I said to him was "Now I have some idea what it was like to see a game at Ebbets Field."

Over the years, I never went to see where Ebbets Field was. It's not in the greatest of neighborhoods, but that didn't really keep me away. My dad hasn't been back there since the Dodgers left. I pass through the Prospect Park subway station on the train all the time, and every once in while I would think that Ebbets Field was just a short walk from the station and I should check out where the park was someday. But I would never seem to get around to do it.

Then finally last Monday, I did it. After the acting gig was over, I walked down Washington Avenue to Sullivan Place, turned left, and a few blocks later, there was the Ebbets Field Apartments. I couldn't resist putting on "There Used To Be a Ballpark" by Frank Sinatra on my iPod as I reached the complex.

All sorts of thoughts ran through my head as I walked down Sullivan Place. I could picture thousands of people walking from the subway station on a sunny July afternoon taking in a game about 60 years ago, and among them my mother or father.

The apartment complex is about 25 stories tall, and it was one of the tallest apartments when it was first built in 1962. A fire lieutenant died in a fire there five years ago. From the outside, there is little to remember the Dodgers there by, except for a sign that says "Ebbets Field" in the middle of the complex.

I walked around the entire complex, and felt so much sadness as I did. I have always been sympathetic to all those Brooklyn Dodgers fans I've known, and I can't imagine what it was like to see their team taken away so cruelly and heartlessly, and to see them win a title on the West Coast just two years later while their beloved ballpark stood empty and awaiting the wrecker's ball. Why did it have to happen?

Across McKeever Place there is a school named for Jackie Robinson, but there is little else to remember that this was the site of some of MLB's most famous moments. I walked back to the subway station at Prospect Park and looked back on the apartments. I can understand why many Dodgers fans don't come back to this site. Now I can tell people I have been by it. But I don't think I'll go there again.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Napoli's Finally On Board, 45 Days Later

On December 3rd, the Red Sox and Mike Napoli agreed on a three-year deal worth $39 million.

On January 17th, the Red Sox and Mike Napoli agreed to a one-year deal worth $5 million.

The Red Sox finally have their first baseman, and saved $34 million in the process.

It appears that the physical Napoli took a week after the original deal was done identified a hip problem he was having, and it sent up the red flags for the Sox.

Now the sides agreed to a one-year deal with a base of $5 million, but there are incentives that could bring the deal up to the original $13 million of the December agreement.

My friend Dan may have put it best this morning: "What is better than a guy pissed off out to prove he is worth more than a one-year deal." You will probably hear comparisons to the Adrian Beltre deal the Sox signed him to in 2010.

Let's hope Napoli does nearly as well as Beltre did in Boston.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Trivia Q&A: January 15

It was a chilly, rainy night in New York, and we had a lighter turnout than I would have thought for Trivia on Tuesday night: 13 teams were in.

It was also one of those nights when the scores across the board were on the higher side. We've had nights like that, but I was most surprised that 7 of the teams got all five questions correct. It's rare to find that many teams turn that trick. I honestly thought it was going to be a tough round, but the players proved me wrong.

I promise you that IQ Trivia will be a bit more difficult next week.

The team of Write Anything rolled up 55 points, and won the night by two points. Second place was a tie, between With the Way He's Been Treated By The Jets, Is It Still Fair to Call Tim Tebow a Virgin? and Wait, Jodie Foster Is Gay? Lance Armstrong Dopes? Next You'll Tell Me John Quinn Likes Turtlenecks each with 53 points. We also had two tiebreakers for the first time, as both teams got the first question exactly correct. ("How many states have an "a" at the end of their names? 21 was the right answer.) So we broke it with, "How many first-ballot Hall of Famers are enshrined at Cooperstown? The answer was 44, and the Tim Tebow group was closest and grabbed second.

Best Team Name: Jodie Foster's Creepy Ginger Children

Current Events
1. What dramatic film was nominated for 12 Academy Awards last week, the most for any 2012 film?
2. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew was nominated by President Obama for what cabinet post last week?
3. No one was elected to the MLB Hall of Fame last week for 2013. Between Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, all first-time candidates, which one got the most votes?
4. A new investigation into the death of singer Amy Winehouse revealed she died from what cause?
5. Abby Wambach was named the female World Player of the Year for 2012 last week in what sport?
6. What was the great significance of Miss Montana, Alexis Wineman, being in this past Saturday's Miss America pageant?
7. As of last Sunday, name 1 of 3 US states where the recent flu outbreak was not considered "widespread."

Trivia of the Last Decade
1. In December 2007, Benazir Bhutto, onetime prime minister of what country, was assassinated by a bomb blast during an election rally?
2. In April 2009, US troops rescued Captain Richard Phillips of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama from pirates based in what African country?
3. In 2004, which US state became the first to recognize same-sex marriage?
4. Which North American city held the 2010 Winter Olympics?
5. In February 2003, which space shuttle disintegrated during re-entry over Texas, killing all seven astronauts  on board?
6. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, swimmer Michael Phelps won how many gold medals?
7. Name 2 of the 3 teams to win the World Series twice in the past ten years.

5,6,7 or 8 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The number of points on a Star of David.
2. The center fielder in baseball is this numbered position.
3. The number of basketball players allowed on the court at any one time for one team.
4. One of George Carlin's best-known routines was "How many words you can never say on television?"
5. Virgo is this number sign of the Zodiac.
6. This number is retired for MLB HoF Mickey Mantle and NFL HoF John Elway.
7. This number iPhone is the latest generation of the Apple iPhone.
8. John Quincy Adams was this number US president.
9. This is the atomic number of oxygen.
10. The number of Super Bowls won by the Pittsburgh Steelers in their history.

General Knowledge
1. What US state is divided into parishes rather than counties? ( 1 pt)
2. Who was the US president during the War of 1812? ( 1 pt)
3. What pop singer renamed herself "Sasha Fierce" for a 2008 double album? ( 1 pt)
4. What finger is fractured twice as often as any other? ( 2 pt)
5. Topsy and Simon Legree are both characters in what classic 19th century novel? ( 2 pt)
6. Mozart's last symphony shares a name with which of the planets? ( 2 pt)
7. What song was playing when Tom Cruise famously danced in his underwear in the 1983 film "Risky Business? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What Midwestern state is the only one whose two-letter postal abbreviation is a preposition? ( 3 points)
2. Christopher Jones was the captain of what famed 17th century ship? ( 4 points)
3. In 1903, a Russian immigrant named Morris Michtom began marketing, with presidential permission, what toy he invented? ( 5 points)
4. What retail company was founded in 1902 in Minneapolis as the Dayton Dry Goods Company, but didn't open its first store under its current name until 1962? ( 4 points)
5. "Bush At War", "State of Denial" and "Plan of Attack" are a trilogy of books written by what famed journalist? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. "Lincoln"; 2. Secretary of the Treasury; 3. Craig Biggio; 4. accidental alcohol poisoning; 5. soccer; 6. first contestant with autism; 7. California, Hawaii, Mississippi.

Trivia of the Last Decade
1. Pakistan; 2. Somalia; 3. Massachusetts; 4. Vancouver; 5. Columbia; 6. eight; 7. Red Sox, Cardinals and Giants.

5,6,7 or 8 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. six; 2. eight; 3. five; 4. seven; 5. six; 6. seven; 7. five; 8. six; 9. eight; 10. six.

General Knowledge
1. Louisiana; 2. James Madison; 3. Beyonce; 4. pinky; 5. "Uncle Tom's Cabin;" 6. Jupiter; 7. "Old Time Rock'n' Roll."

IQ Trivia
1. Indiana (IN); 2. The Mayflower; 3. teddy bear; 4. Target; 5. Bob Woodward.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Trivia From This Past Decade On Tuesday

Trivia Night this Tuesday, January 15th at 8:30 PM will feature "Trivia of the Last Decade" as the Special Category. I will ask you seven questions from events that occurred between and including the years of 2003 and 2012.

The Q Train lightning round will be "5,6,7 or 8 Trivia." I will ask you ten questions where the answer will be any of those four numbers. No particular reason for doing those numbers. We just haven't done it in a while.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Who was the US president during the War of 1812?"

We will get going right around 8:30 PM on Tuesday. Hope many of you can make it out for a great night of Trivia then!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

See You For Trivia On Tuesday Night

The NHL released its schedule for the abbreviated 2013 season on Saturday, and the season will start on January 19th, next Saturday.

What that means is that our Trivia Night will go on at the usual night and time this coming week, on January 15th at 8:30 PM. We might have had to move the night had the Boston Bruins had their opener this coming Tuesday.

The Sneak Peek and Special Categories will be posted here on the blog on Monday.

See you all for our usual great night of Trivia on Tuesday!

Friday, January 11, 2013

"World On A String: A Musical Memoir"

Recently I finished reading a very entertaining book called "World on a String: A Musical Memoir" by the great jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli.

I will say as a matter of disclosure that John and I have become friends through our mutual love of the Red Sox and meeting through The BLOHARDS group. So I guess I'm biased. So be it.

John co-wrote the book with our mutual friend Joe Cosgriff, and if you like the American Songbook, you are sure to like the book. John not only talks about his life with his father, the legendary jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, but his early life being around other jazz greats and his first forays into playing music in his native New Jersey, which I found very entertaining.

John dedicates chapters to such stars he played with like Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra, and also about playing with such musical icons as Benny Goodman, James Taylor and Paul McCartney.

Of course, I had to smile at some of the Red Sox references, and also a few "Odd Couple" ones as well. As John said to me, "Expect that when writing a book with Joe Cosgriff."

John talks extensively about his life on the road as a touring musician, and also a very interesting chapter about his time on Broadway.

For those of you in New York, John will be doing an in-store appearance at Barnes & Noble store at 82nd Street & Broadway this coming Monday night, January 14th at 7 PM. He will be signing his new book, chatting with New York 1's Budd Mishkin, as well as playing some tunes. I'm hoping to be there but I will be working on Monday.

Anyway, I highly recommend John's book. A great behind the scenes look at a really nice guy's musical life.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

No One.

To very little surprise, the baseball writers did not elect anyone to the Hall of Fame today.

For the first time since 1996, no player got the 75% needed to be enshrined at Cooperstown. Craig Biggio got the most votes, but still fell 39 votes short, with 68.2% of the vote. It was his first time on the ballot, and he figures to get in in the next year or so.

I was most curious to see how "The Juicers" did. And they fared pretty dismally their first time out:

Roger Clemens: 214 votes (37.6%)
Barry Bonds: 206 votes (36.2%)
Sammy Sosa: 71 votes (12.5%)

And Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro did even worse than last year:

McGwire: 96 votes (16.9%)
Palmeiro: 50 votes (8.8%)

Here is the complete vote, from the BBWAA web site.

It's pretty clear the writers were sending a message. Many sent in blank ballots as a protest. It was a sad day for baseball, as the chickens finally came home to roost as far as steroids are concerned. This was a day many looked forward to, and even more did not.

Next year's ballots will include five bigtime names: Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina, none of whom were ever connected to steroids. The focus will shift away from The Juicers to an extent, as it appears that at least three of the new 2014 candidates (Glavine, Maddux and Thomas) could well be elected on the first-ballot.

Today's vote shows that it will be an uphill struggle for Bonds, Clemens and Sosa to ever be elected.

Trivia Q&A: January 8

We had 20 teams in on a busy Trivia night, and our return to Tuesday night. The scores were very good through the first four rounds. We had a close night throughout, with the top six separated by just two points heading into IQ Trivia.

And then we had a rare occurrence happen. A team from outside the Top 5 jumped over them all and won. The team of Celibate Tamagotchis were in 9th place, and were the only team to get 4 of 5 correct and wound up winning the night by just two points, with 44 all told. It was a tough round, as only two other teams got as many as three correct. Nice job, guys.

Second place wound up a tie between After Seeing Miss Alabama, The Musburger Now Comes With a Special Sauce and "I've Never Seen You Wear Leather", both at 42 points. We broke the tie with an Elvis Presley question, in honor of his birthday: "How many Top 40 singles did Elvis have in his career?" The answer was 114, and After Seeing Miss Alabama was closest with their guess and took second.

Best Team Name: Why Do The Waitresses Look So Hot Tonight?

Next week's Trivia Night day is currently up in the air, as the NHL has not yet announced their schedule after the lockout's end, and their Opening Night could be January 15th, next Tuesday. But the strong rumor is that it will be Saturday, January 19th. If that is true, Trivia will go on as scheduled next Tuesday. If the opener is next Tuesday, we will move Trivia over to next Monday, January 14th at 8:30 PM. Check back with the blog updates.

Current Events
1. What Asian country blocked access to YouTube recently, and just hours after it had lifted a ban on the site for "carrying blasphemous material?"
2. The New York Post reported that what onetime supermodel was mugged & suffered a leg injury trying to hail a cab in Paris last month?
3. The world's longest high-speed rail line, over 1400 miles, opened in what Asian country recently?
4. French actor Gerard Depardieu renounced his French citizenship last week over high taxes and was granted citizenship by which country?
5. Which northeastern city topped The Daily Beast's list for the second straight year as "The Drunkest US City?"
6. What controversial rapper stated last week that he, as a longtime marijuana user, will "teach his children the right way to smoke weed?"
7. Last week, a petition was created on the White House website to mint a new platinum coin to help against the debt ceiling crisis. How much would this platinum coin be worth?

January 8th Trivia
1. On this day in 1975, Ella Grasso of Connecticut became the first woman in US history to hold what elected office?
2. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson famously declared "war" on what in his State of the Union address?
3. In 2011, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was wounded and six others were killed in an attempted assassination in what US state?
4. On this day in 1963, what legendary painting had its one and only exhibition in the US at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC?
5. Elvis Presley was born on this day in 1935. What 1956 song was his first number one single in the US?
6. Robby Krieger, lead guitarist for The Doors, was born on this day in 1946. What Doors song, arguably their best known song, was their first number one song & number one for three weeks in 1967?
7. David Bowie was born on this day in 1947. With what legendary 1930s/40s male crooner did he record a version of "The Little Drummer Boy" on his Christmas TV special in 1977?

Oscar Winning Movie Characters Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Christy Brown
2. June Carter
3. Andrew Beckett
4. Margaret Thatcher
5. King George VI
6. Virginia Woolf
7. Annie Wilkes
8. Idi Amin
9. Edith Piaf
10. Maximus Decimus Meridius

General Knowledge
1. What telephone prefix of three numbers is used in the movies by most filmmakers? ( 1 pt)
2. What country was first in overall medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics? ( 1 pt)
3. In "Monty Python and The Holy Grail", was kind of animal was said to be "a terrible monster with nasty, big, pointy teeth?" ( 1 pt)
4. What name was given to the program to give US economic aid to Europe at the end of World War II? ( 2 pt)
5. The novel "Brave New World" was written by what 20th century author? ( 2 pt)
6. What continent is the platypus native to? ( 2 pt)
7. "Caveat Emptor" is a Latin phrase meaning what? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The only international airport named after a rock star is found in what foreign city? ( 4 points)
2. As of 2011, which US company has the most US patents, with nearly 6200? ( 4 points)
3. What are you suffering from if you have amusia? ( 5 points)
4. What is the only Clint Eastwood film in which the movie star's tough guy character is shot dead? ( 3 points)
5. Aquidneck Island is located in what eastern US state? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Pakistan; 2. Naomi Campbell; 3. China; 4. Russia; 5. Boston; 6. Snoop Dogg; 7. $1 trillion.

January 8th Trivia
1. Governor; 2. poverty; 3. Arizona; 4. Mona Lisa; 5. "Heartbreak Hotel;" 6. "Light My Fire;" 7. Bing Crosby.

Oscar Winning Movie Characters Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Daniel Day-Lewis; 2. Reese Witherspoon; 3. Tom Hanks; 4. Meryl Streep; 5. Colin Firth; 6. Nicole Kidman; 7. Kathy Bates; 8. Forest Whitaker; 9. Marion Cotillard; 10. Russell Crowe.

General Knowledge
1. 555; 2. USA; 3. rabbit; 4. Marshall Plan; 5. Aldous Huxley; 6. Australia; 7. "Buyer beware."

IQ Trivia
1. Liverpool (John Lennon); 2. IBM; 3. Tone deafness; 4. "Gran Torino;" 5. Rhode Island.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Just Bagwell. From the BBA.

Every baseball fan has an opinion on this. So here's mine.

Probably the most controversial Hall of Fame balloting in history will be announced tomorrow, with the first time Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa will be eligible for Cooperstown.

I belong to the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, and they sent all of us the same ballot that was sent to the baseball writers who vote in the actual election.

You can vote for a maximum of ten players for the Hall in any given year. I voted for eight.

And they are (in no particular order):
Craig Biggio
Jeff Bagwell
Mike Piazza
Edgar Martinez
Dale Murphy
Curt Schilling
Lee Smith
Tim Raines

No, I did not vote for Bonds, Clemens or Sosa. Or Mark McGwire or Rafael Palmeiro. Or Jack Morris.

I'm not going to bore you with statistics. Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGwire and Palmeiro are cheaters, plain and simple. I don't care if they were "already on their way to the Hall of Fame" when they went on the juice. Keep them out. I always thought Morris was rather overrated.

Biggio, Bagwell and Piazza are slam-dunks in my opinion. Martinez is arguably the best DH in history. And yes, DHs do belong in the Hall. It's been the law of the land in the AL for four decades now. It's time to acknowledge them.

For a long time, I thought Murphy was already in, but on this his last time eligible, I would vote him in. I'm betting Schilling doesn't get in this year, as he's made plenty of enemies with his career with his big mouth and opinions. But Smith and Raines have been overlooked in recent years, especially Smith. He was the dominant closer of the mid-to-late 1980s, and merits inclusion.

Only one player would have been elected through the Baseball Bloggers Alliance election, and that was Bagwell, with 76%. Biggio and Piazza were tied for second at 69%. Here is the complete vote from the BBA.

Tomorrow should be a fascinating day with Hall of Fame voted officially announced at 2 PM. As far as Bonds, Clemens and Sosa go, I am more interested to see what percentage of the vote they get the first time around. Will they ever get elected? It's possible, as attitudes change over time. But I'm betting none of them get even 50%.

Steroids were a black eye for baseball. And tomorrow, all the dodging the players union and MLB did back in the late 1990s will be back on display for all to see.

They Call Alabama The Crimson Tide. And The Champions, Too.

Well, there was no doubt who the best college football team in the land was on Monday night. It sure as hell wasn't Notre Dame.

Alabama completely and totally outplayed the Fighting Irish in all phases of the game, and walked away with an easy 42-14 win.

The Crimson Tide made it look really easy, scoring TDs on their first three possessions. It was 28-0 at halftime, and it was all over. I really thought Notre Dame would give Alabama more of a fight. It was simply a case of Men vs. Boys.

It was by far and way the Irish's worst game of the year. The tackling was terrible, and Alabama got the running game going and simply dominated. The Irish had not allowed a TD drive of 80 or more yards all season. The Crimson Tide had FOUR 80-yards or more TD drives on the night.

Notre Dame scored both TDs when they didn't matter much, just to make the score a little more respectable. Everett Golson threw them both. But I do give him a little bit of credit. At least he handles himself as a professional. That can't be said of A.J. McCarron, the Alabama QB, who got into a pushing match with center Barrett Jones deep into garbage time in the fourth quarter when they disagreed on a play being called. McCarron's hissy fit looked really stupid, and definitely showed his teammate up before a national audience.

Anyway, it was Alabama's second straight title, and third in four years. My congratulations to them on their title.

I am very disappointed with the conclusion of this Notre Dame season, but I am VERY proud of them, as the Fighting Irish had a wonderful season, winning 12 straight in the regular season. With thanks to Brian Kelly, Manti Te'o and the entire team. It was a wonderful ride in 2012. Looking forward to next season.

I'm a Fighting Irish fan forever.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Back On Tuesdays, Where We Belong

Trivia makes its return back to Tuesday night tomorrow at 8:30 PM, with "January 8th Trivia" as the Special Category. It will be seven questions about the day in history.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Oscar Winning Movie Characters Trivia." I will give you the names of ten characters from films from the recent past (think within the last 30 years), and you have to tell me the name of the actor or actress who won the Academy Award for playing him or her.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What telephone prefix, of three numbers, is used in the movies by most filmmakers?"

We'll get going right around 8:30 PM. We should be good on Tuesdays for a while, up until the Celtics playoff run begins in late April. (If they make the playoffs. Doesn't everybody in the NBA these days?) The Red Sox don't play the Yankees even once on a Tuesday in all of 2013, so they won't be interrupting us. That's a good thing. I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow night!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Very Proud Of My Boys Tonight

Cancel any ticket plans you had for Atlanta next weekend.

The Vikings went out of the playoffs, 24-10, tonight in Green Bay.

Christian Ponder was a late scratch at QB, as the elbow he injured in the season finale last Sunday made it impossible to play tonight, so Joe Webb (pictured) came on in his place. It was the first time a QB who did not start a game in the regular season started a playoff game since 1992 (Frank Reich of Buffalo in the great comeback game against Houston), and the first time since 1950 that a QB started a playoff game in which he did not attempt a pass in the regular season. (Webb took three snaps against Tennessee in garbage time.)

The deck was stacked against Webb, and he sure looked overmatched.

Adrian Peterson gained 99 yards rushing tonight. Webb threw a TD late in the fourth quarter to Michael Jenkins to make the score line a bit more respectable.

Another Vikings season ends without a championship. But tonight I am not upset but just a bit disappointed. I guess I started dreaming about the Vikings going on a Wild Card postseason run like the Giants did last year. But when I heard Ponder was out, I knew it was not meant to be. Joe Webb did his best, and I certainly can't blame him.

Before the first game on September 9th, I hoped that the Vikings could go 8-8 and move up in the NFC North. They had two lousy years in a row, and I was optimistic after the good draft that they had. I really never thought the playoffs were a realistic possibility four months ago. But the great run they had in December made that a reality.

Adrian Peterson was otherworldly. The Vikings defense was better than advertised, and rookie Harrison Smith was outstanding in the secondary.. Blair Walsh became the best kicker in the NFL as a rookie. Leslie Frazier did a terrific job in just his second full year as Vikings head coach.

I feel like the Vikings have a bright future in front of them. Hopefully they can take the next step and win the North in 2013.

I thank each and every one of them for a great year. I'm really proud of my team, and wish them a good offseason. Skol Vikings!

Friday, January 04, 2013

January 4th Is Always National Trivia Day

As many of you may know (or not know), today is my 51st birthday.

It is also "National Trivia Day."

That is too perfect, isn't it?

I didn't do anything special today. What did I do this evening?

I wrote trivia questions for next Tuesday's contest.

Let the good times roll.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

And Still Nobody Wearing 21?

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe put up a column yesterday about what numbers the newly acquired Red Sox will be wearing, and a few players will also be changing numbers as well.

The great Red Sox site RedSoxDiehard has a full listing of all player numbers throughout team history, and definitely worth checking out.

Here are the players who are changing numbers for 2013:

Jose Iglesias: 10 (was 58)
Will Middlebrooks: 16 (was 64)
Ryan Lavarnway 20 (was 60)
Pedro Ciriaco: 23 (was 77)
Daniel Nava: 29 (was 66)
Felix Doubront 35 (was 61)
Junichi Tazawa: 36 (was 63)

Franklin Morales: 56 (was 46)

Glad to see so many of those "football numbers" disappearing. They reminded me of that awful Jimmy Piersall movie "Fear Strikes Out." If you saw it, you may have noticed that every Red Sox player but Piersall wore a number in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Here are the numbers to be worn by the newly acquired players:

David Ross: 3 
Jonny Gomes: 5 
Stephen Drew: 7 
Shane Victorino: 18 
Koji Uehara: 19 
Brock Holt: 26 
Ryan Dempster: 46 
Joel Hanrahan: 52

No word on what number Mike Napoli will wear. Or anything else about his signing for that matter. Another Drew will be wearing 7. And the Sox wasted no time giving out the numbers formerly worn by Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett. 

Numbers that the coaching personnel will wear:

Brian Butterfield: 13
Torey Lovullo: 22
Greg Colbrunn: 28
Arnie Beyeler: 43
Juan Nieves: 47

John Farrell: 53
Gary Tuck: 57
Victor Rodriguez: 58

Interesting that John Farrell will wear 53 and not 52, which he wore in his first time with the Sox as pitching coach and managing Toronto. I can only guess Joel Hanrahan asked him for and got the number.

The first thing I noticed about the numbers listed here was that STILL no one on the Sox will wear 21, who was last worn by Roger Clemens in 1996. I know the number is not retired or even semi-retired, as I remember in an interview a few years back, Jonathan Papelbon revealed the Sox actually offered 21 to him, but he turned it down and stayed with number 58. I know Clemens has made nice with the team over the past few years, as he has shown up to Fenway Park on a number of occasions, such as the Johnny Pesky memorial and the All-Fenway Team last season.

Could they now be holding 21 in case he gets elected to the Hall of Fame? Maybe. But I wouldn't hold my breath on that happening ANY TIME soon.

Also interesting that the Sox have given out 26 again. A guy in the Hall of Fame who won numerous batting titles some years ago named Wade Boggs once wore it, but it has been given out to many players since his departure in 1992. I haven't seen Boggs at anything regarding the Red Sox over the years. I can only imagine he and Sox management have little or no relationship, and they don't care at all about anyone wearing his number.

Trivia Q&A: January 2

It was nice to see a good crowd in Professor Thom's for Trivia on a special Wednesday night to start the year of 2013. Many of the regulars were back after most passed on last week's Trivia Night that wasn't. We had 16 teams in for the festivities.

We didn't have any perfect scores until the fourth round, and it was close between the top five teams throughout the night. IQ Trivia was an unusual round, as we had five get all 5 correct, but most teams got either 1 or 2 correct. (It's usually spread out a bit more.) And we also had another unusual occurrence: a solo winner. My friend Dave, who is normally paired with some other friends, went alone and wound up winning by two points with 51, under the name If Abe Vigoda Were Alive Today... Great job, Dave!

Second place went to Trivia Killed The Michigan Bar with 49, and third place went to 18 Years, 18 Years & On His 18th Birthday, He Found It Was Ray J's with 46 points.

Current Events
1. Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, and four colleagues were released after being held captive for 5 days in what Middle Eastern country?
2. Who was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2012?
3. Robert Bork, former federal judge who was rejected after being nominated to the Supreme Court, died recently at the age of 85. What US president nominated him?
4. Which European country was number one in a recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit as "The Best Country To Be Born in 2013?"
5. The Associated Press selected what singer as the 2012 "Entertainer of the Year?"
6. What Asian country elected its first female president recently, the daughter of the country's ruler in the 1960s and '70s?
7. The Venus, a high-tech yacht commissioned by what late entrepreneur, was impounded by Dutch officials recently over a money dispute between the man's heirs and the yacht's designer?

The Year 2012 In Review
1. What action film became the UK's all-time biggest-selling movie in 2012, eclipsing "Avatar"'s record of 93.7 million pounds?
2. The Skytree, the tallest self-supporting tower in the world at 2,080 feet, opened in what world capital city last February?
3. What country got hit with an enormous power blackout, the largest in history last July, affecting over 620 million people over two days?
4. Felix Baumgartner made a space dive of 24 miles, breaking the sound barrier last October over what US state?
5. In August, Apple passed what company as the largest American one ever, with a stock market value of over $623 billion?
6. What restaurant chain overtook Burger King last March to become America's number two hamburger chain behind McDonald's?
7. Guggenheim Partners purchased what MLB franchise last May for $2.1 billion, the largest purchase of a sports team in history?

Did They Make It Through 2012? ("The Q Train")
1. Doris Day
2. Mickey Rooney
3. Andy Griffith
4. Maureen O'Hara
5. George McGovern
6. Buzz Aldrin
7. Dave Brubeck
8. Pete Seeger
9. Nancy Reagan
10. Jack Klugman

General Knowledge
1. How many days are in the month of February during a leap year? ( 1 pt)
2. Yo-Yo Ma is most closely associated with what genre of music? ( 1 pt)
3. Nicolas Cage won an Academy Award for what 1995 film? ( 1 pt)
4. Transylvania is a region in what modern-day country? ( 2 pt)
5. Jed Clampett was a character in what 1960s TV sitcom? ( 2 pt)
6. The Golden Gate Bridge is painted what color? ( 2 pt)
7. A "Baltimore chop" can be found in what activity? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The Columbia River divides which two western US states? ( 3 points)
2. The city of Chichen Itza was built by which ancient civilization? ( 4 points)
3. What was the last US state admitted to the Union that was east of the Mississippi River? ( 4 points)
4. "Minister of Immigrant Absorption" and "Minister of Information & Diaspora" are two of thirty positions in what nation's cabinet? ( 5 points)
5. Nephritis is a medical condition which affects what part of the human body? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Syria; 2. Barack Obama; 3. Ronald Reagan; 4. Switzerland; 5. Adele; 6. South Korea; 7. Steve Jobs.

The Year 2012 In Review
1. "Skyfall;" 2. Tokyo; 3. India; 4. New Mexico; 5. Microsoft (I also accepted Exxon); 6. Wendy's; 7. Los Angeles Dodgers.

Did They Make It Through 2012? ("The Q Train")
1. yes; 2. yes; 3. no; 4. yes; 5. no; 6. yes; 7. no; 8. yes; 9. yes; 10. no.

General Knowledge
1. Twenty-nine; 2. classical; 3. "Leaving Las Vegas;" 4. Romania; 5. "The Beverly Hillbillies; 6. orange; 7. baseball.

IQ Trivia
1. Washington and Oregon; 2. Mayan; 3. West Virginia; 4. Israel; 5. kidneys.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Let's Get 2013 Off To a Good Start

It was a great year for our Trivia Night in 2012, with record crowds in February and March, and good turnouts just about every week. And I thank each and every one of you who made Professor Thom's a weekly (or semi-weekly) stop to take part in our Trivia Night.

We ended 2012 by not doing Trivia Night last week, due to Christmas holiday the day before and the awful weather that night. But that's OK, as I'm sure we'll get a good number of folks coming out tomorrow night. (It's tough to type with my fingers crossed!)

But we will do last week's Trivia Night to kick off 2013, as "The Year 2012 In Review" as the Special Category. It will be seven questions about events that occurred in the year just gone by.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Did They Make It Through 2012?" I will give you the names of 10 celebrities, and you have to tell me if they are still with us or not.

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

We will get going at 8:30 PM on Wednesday night. We will return to our usual day and time next week, Tuesday, January 8th, again at 8:30 PM. I hope to see many of you on Wednesday night for the first time in 2013. Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays!