Monday, September 30, 2013

Let's Go Green On Tuesday

On Tuesday night, October 1st, Trivia Night at The Mad Hatter (3rd Avenue and E. 26th Street) will feature "Green Trivia," seven questions that have something to do with the color green, in any way, shape or form.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Time Zones Trivia." I will give you the names of ten cities in North America, and you have to tell me which time zone they are located in (such as Eastern, Pacific, Mountain, etc.).

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Equatorial Guinea is a small country found on what continent?"

We get started at 8 PM on Tuesday night. We've had an upturn in the number of folks coming out for Trivia the last couple of weeks, so let's keep that trend going! Hope to see many of you this Tuesday night!


Yes, it was broken. And it was fixed. The faith was restored.

I never would guessed that the Red Sox would have won an amazing 97 games in 2013, after the complete disaster of the previous season. From worst to first.

They finished 28 games better than the previous year, the second-best turnaround in team history. (1946 was the best, 33 games better than in 1945.)

My prediction for this year? Allan at The Joy of Sox has Red Sox fans make their best guess just before the year begins, and I had the Sox winning 88. Only missed by 9.

But for me, the moment John Farrell became manager last October, I felt this team could very well be a contender. The nucleus of a very good team was still there, and I thought that they needed the top of the rotation to come through (and they did), and go back to what I call "The 2003 Playbook", bring in underappreciated veterans the way Theo Epstein did in 2003 with Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller, Todd Walker and David Ortiz. Except this time, Ben Cherington did it with Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew, and Koji Uehara.

It has been such an enjoyable year to be a Red Sox fan. No matter what happens from here on, it has been a year we will all look back on with fondness. I guess we had to go through a year of torment to come out shining on the other side.

And we thank Ben Cherington and John Farrell for making that happen, and restoring hope and dignity to being a Red Sox fan once again.

Now on to the playoffs.

Friday, September 27, 2013

They Suckered Me In

I haven't talked about football much since the Red Sox are having such a wonderful season, and heading towards the ALDS.

I really had high hopes for the Minnesota Vikings this season. They ended 2012 very strong, with four straight wins and a playoff berth. I liked the draft they had (although you can't judge a draft on any level until a full season has been played), and made some nice free agent acquisitions (I especially liked them getting Greg Jennings from rival Green Bay).

I thought this club had made the move to the next level, and might very well be a Super Bowl contender.

Silly me.

An 0-3 start. A dreadful loss to one of the NFL's worst teams in their home opener (Cleveland). Two losses in the final minute due a very porous defense. And now their starting quarterback, the much maligned Christian Ponder, takes a seat this Sunday in London due to a rib injury. It looks like Matt Cassel, signed over the summer from Kansas City, will get the QB start.

The defense has been simply putrid, allowing 96 points in the first three games. Only the Giants and Redskins have allowed more in the first three weeks.

Somehow, I don't think this is the way Leslie Frazier and his staff drew up the start of this season. After the Vikings started 0-2, I heard about the long odds of any team making the postseason with that record (although the Giants won the Super Bowl a couple of years ago starting out 0-2). And it seemed to most folks that beating the Cleveland Browns was a lock, but that lock fell apart, as the Browns scored a TD in the final 51 seconds to hand the Vikings a 31-27 loss.

Very few teams have made the playoffs starting out 0-3, the last being the 1998 Buffalo Bills. The Vikings right now are across the pond and will play the equally-inept Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. To say this is a must-win game goes without saying.

I always check out The Daily Norseman for Vikings news.

And I'll be checking it out on NFL RedZone on Sunday. Hoping for the best, and expecting the worst.

At least the MLB postseason is about to begin.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Top Seed Still In Play

OK, the Red Sox won't reach the 100-win mark, as the Rockies beat the Sox, 8-3, at Coors Field last night.

Now, the best the Red Sox can finish with is 99 wins, if they take the remaining four games. That would match the best finish since 1978. Not that big a deal really. But what still remains a big deal is the Red Sox earning the number one spot in the AL playoffs, and currently they lead the Oakland A's by just one game. The red-hot A's were cooled off in Anaheim last night by the Angels, 3-0. Both teams have four games left.

The AL best record gets the Wild Card game winner, and second place will play the Detroit Tigers. You have to figure that the Wild Card game winner will use their best pitcher in the Wild Card matchup, so finishing first overall will give that team a distinct advantage in the ALDS.

And by the way, the Rays win over the Yankees last night but New York's death number at 1. So that means should they drop another to the Rays tonight, or the Indians beat the White Sox in Cleveland, today will officially be "Yankee Elimination Day."

Trivia Q&A: September 24

We had a terrific crowd in on Trivia Night on Tuesday, a crowd that was really into it and had a good time. Many of the folks who were in said so afterwards, and that is always nice.

We had a tie going into IQ Trivia, but the team of Where's Eddy? ran the table in that round, and wound up with a total of 51 points and the win. They were down to fourth place after the third round, but they were perfect in the last two, and won by four points.

Second place went to This Is Why I'm Never On Time with 48 points, and third place went to Have An A1 Day with 47 points. (Nice to see you again, Dave!)

Current Events
1. The FBI released statistics this week revealing what city was the murder capital of the US, with more than 500 homicides there in 2012?
2. Masked gunmen attacked a shopping mall in what African country last Saturday, killing at least 60 people?
3. What multinational bank was fined $920 million last week for illegal practices related to trading losses in 2012?
4. Leonardo DiCaprio will produce and star in a biopic of what controversial early 20th century US president, based on a recent bestseller?
5. What R&B male singer, who dies in 2004, was honored this past week by the USPS with his image on a postage stamp?
6. What show the Emmy award for Best Variety Series, after 8 years on the air and being shut out all the previous years?
7. 75 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a church in what Asian country last Sunday?

Dead Rock Stars Trivia
1. Bon Scott was the original singer of what heavy metal group before his "death by misadventure" in 1980?
2. Ian Curtis was the lead singer of Joy Division and died in 1980. What was the cause of his death?
3. Jim Morrison of The Doors died in 1971 in what foreign city?
4. Between Otis Redding, Ronnie Van Zant and Janis Joplin, which one did not die in a plane crash?
5. Rapper Biggie Smalls was murdered in 1997 in a drive-by shooting in what US city?
6. John Bonham was the drummer for what rock band until his 1980 death from asphyxiation?
7. Between Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and John Lennon, which lived to the oldest age?

American War Movies Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Glory (1989)
2. We Were Soldiers (2002)
3. M*A*S*H (1970)
4. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
5. The Hurt Locker (2009)
6. The Patriot (2000)
7. Courage Under Fire (1996)
8. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
9. Gods and Generals (2003)
10. The Buccaneer (1938)

General Knowledge
1. Jim Henson changed Oscar the Grouch's color from orange to what color for Sesame Street's second season? ( 1 pt)
2. South Africa was first colonized by what European country? (1 pt)
3. Greenland is an autonomous country within what European country? ( 1 pt)
4. Lady Godiva rope naked on a horse through what English city? ( 2 pt)
5. What famous actress appeared in Playboy magazine's first issue in 1953? ( 2 pt)
6. What actress won the Best Actress Oscar for the film "A Streetcar Named Desire?" ( 2 pt)
7. What does a numismatist collect? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What wealthy American is also known by the nickname "The Oracle of Omaha?" ( 4 points)
2. What 1974 film, the only comedy to top the yearly box-office gross between the 1940s and 1980s, was set a century earlier? ( 4 points)
3. In 27 of the 50 US states, the highest-paid state employee does what specific job? ( 5 points)
4. What is the hottest planet in our solar system? ( 3 points)
5. English identical twins Norris and Ross McWhirter co-founded what publication in 1955? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Chicago; 2. Kenya; 3. JP Morgan Chase; 4. Woodrow Wilson; 5. Ray Charles; 6. "The Colbert Report;" 7. Pakistan.

Dead Rock Stars Trivia
1. AC/DC; 2. Suicide by hanging; 3. Paris; 4. Janis Joplin; 5. Los Angeles; 6. Led Zeppelin; 7. Michael Jackson (51).

American War Movies Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Civil war; 2. Vietnam War; 3. Korean War; 4. World War II; 5. Iraq war; 6. Revolutionary War; 7. Gulf war; 8. Vietnam War; 9. Civil War; 10. War of 1812.

General Knowledge
1. Green; 2. Netherlands; 3. Denmark; 4. Coventry; 5. Marilyn Monroe; 6. Vivian Leigh; 7. coins.

IQ Trivia
1. Warren Buffett; 2. "Blazing Saddles;" 3. College football coach; 4. Venus; 5. Guinness Book of World Records.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dead Rockers & War Movies This Tuesday

This Tuesday night at The Mad Hatter, Trivia Night will feature "Dead Rock Stars Trivia," seven questions about rock and pop music stars who left this world way before their time. (No questions about Justin Bieber, even though he is still alive but most people would love to see him gone.)

The Q Train lightning round will have "American War Movies Trivia," as I will give you the name and year a certain war picture came out and you tell me which war I'm talking about.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"South Africa was first colonized by what European country?"

We get started at 8 PM on Tuesday night at The Mad Hatter, which is on E. 26th Street and 3rd Avenue. Hope to see many of you there for a terrific night of Trivia Q&A!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Still In Line For 100

The Red Sox won the weekend series from the Blue Jays on Sunday, as Felix Doubront pitched seven strong innings, as the Sox won, 5-2.

David Ortiz belted his 29th home run of 2013, and Jackie Bradley connected on a three-run shot, and that was all the Red Sox needed for their 95th win of the year.

The Sox ended their regular season home schedule with their 53rd win at Fenway, and that is tops in the majors for any team at home. (They have won 42 on the road, and that is second-best in MLB.)

The Red Sox have a couple of things to still to play for. They lead Oakland for the best record in the AL by 1 1/2 games, and Detroit by 3 1/2 games. The best record gets the Wild Card game winner, no matter what division they come from.

And, if they win run the table and win their remaining five games in Colorado and Baltimore, they will win 100 games for the first time since 1946. I know that's not a big priority right now, but I still love to see them pull it off.

Congratulations to the great Carl Yastrzemski, as he was honored by the Red Sox today with a statue that was unveiled outside of Fenway before the game. It was made from the final game he played in back in 1983. All the best to The Captain and his family (pictured).

Friday, September 20, 2013

We Own The East

The Red Sox wrapped up their first AL East title tonight in grand style, with a 6-3 win over the pre-season favorite Toronto Blue Jays.

Jon Lester got his career 100th win, and Koji Uehara got his first five-out save of the season to put the Sox at the top of the East for the first time since 2007.

Not bad for a club that was picked to finish fourth or fifth by many so-called "experts."

From worst to first. I couldn't be prouder of my boys more tonight.

Now on to October.

On The Brink

The Red Sox locked up a playoff berth last night at Fenway, as John Lackey was simply brilliant, and the Red Sox went on to a 3-1 victory over Baltimore.

It was arguably Lackey's best game ever in a Red Sox uniform. He pitched a complete game, two-hitter, and had a no-hitter into the seventh inning, went it was broken up by Adam Jones' home run. Lackey continues to be a money pitcher, as the Sox' avoided a sweep at the hands of the Orioles.

Stephen Drew hit a two-run homer in the 2nd inning, and that was all the Sox needed.

The win officially put the Red Sox into the postseason. Tampa Bay's loss dropped the Magic Number for the AL East title at 1, and the Sox can wrap that up tonight with Jon Lester on the mound against the Blue Jays.

Last night's win gives the Sox 93 wins on the year, with 8 games remaining. This from a team that lost 93 in 2012. And they are a red-hot 12-5 in the month of September.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

All Good Things Must Come To An End

The consecutive batters retired streak of Koji Uehara finally came to an end last night, as he gave up a triple to Danny Valencia to open the ninth inning, and that run scored as the Orioles went on to a 3-2 win last night at Fenway.

Uehara's team record closed at 37 straight batters, and it was his first loss of 2013. His scoreless streak of 30 1/3 innings also ended when Baltimore took the ninth inning lead.

And it was one of those very rare nights where I wasn't bothered by a Red Sox loss.

Tampa Bay lost to Texas, so the Magic Number for the Sox dropped to three. It just means they can't wrap up the AL East tonight, but could do it on Thursday. (The Magic Number to wrap up a playoff berth is now at 2.)

It was a bad night for the Yankees, as all the teams in front of them won except Tampa Bay. Their Wild Card hopes continue to grow dimmer.

The Sox are now at 92-60, and still have the best record in baseball, 2 1/2 games better than both the A's and Braves, who are both 89-62.

Trivia Q&A: September 17

We had another nice turnout for Trivia on a cool Tuesday evening at The Mad Hatter. It was one of those rare nights were almost all the teams were in the running for the Winners Circle from the start, and heading into IQ Trivia, the top three teams were separated by just four points.

But the team in third place, Something Snappy, ran the table and got all five IQ Trivia questions correct, and wound up winning by a single point, with 47 points. Great job, gentlemen.

Second place went to Don't Push Me Alvarez-Bieber's Got My Back with 46 points. Third place went to Cockney Rebel with 41 points.

Current Events
1. What Saturday Night Live alumnus was announced as the host for the show's premier show this season later this month?
2. Thomas Bach, a former German fencer, was elected the 9th president of what last week?
3. What pop singer set a new record for the greatest number of views in 24 hours for a video on YouTube, with 19.3 million last Tuesday?
4. What airline sold tickets for $0, $5, and $10 due to a computer glitch and will honor those prices?
5. What former MLB star's conviction on an obstruction of justice charge was upheld by a federal appeals court last Friday?
6. Which Asian country switched off their last nuclear reactor last Sunday, leaving it nuclear power-free for the second time in the last two years?
7. What was 24-year-old Nina Davuluri in the headlines this past weekend?

September 17th Trivia
1. On this day in 1862, the bloodiest single-day battle in American history occurred during the Civil War, with over 22,000 soldiers wounded or killed at what battle?
2. Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America on this day in 1983. What state did she represent?
3. The US Constitution was signed on this day in 1787 in what city?
4. The Camp David Accords were signed on this day in 1978, laying the groundwork for a permanent peace between which two countries?
5. NASA unveiled the first space shuttle on this day in 1976. What was that space shuttle's name?
6. Spiro Agnew, the 39th Vice-President of the United States, died on this day in 1996. Under which president did he serve as vice-president?
7. Phil Jackson, legendary NBA coach who won 11 titles as head coach, was born on this day in 1945. With which team did he win two titles as a player in the 1970s?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Arizona is the only US state never to report a temperature of zero degrees (F) of below.
2. Franklin D. Roosevelt never won the Nobel Peace Prize.
3. The secret society Skull and Bones operates at Harvard University.
4. The youngest pope ever was 11 years old.
5. There was once a 5 cents bill issued by the US government.
6. Robert E. Lee commanded the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War.
7. Harry S. Truman is the only US president born in Missouri.
8. Actor John Ritter was the son of country singer Tex Ritter.
9. The movie "Chariots of Fire" was set during the 1936 Summer Olympics.
10. The first novel that featured James Bond was "Dr. No."

General Knowledge
1. In what sport would one use a shuttlecock? ( 1 pt)
2. A person who is an octogenarian is at least what age? ( 1 pt)
3. "Touch Me", "People Are Strange" and "Hello I Love You" were all hit songs by what 1960s rock band? ( 1 pt)
4. The military code word for the letter "T" is what? ( 2 pt)
5. Mariska Hargitay portrayed Detective Olivia Benson on what TV show? ( 2 pt)
6. Santiago is the capital of what country? ( 2 pt)
7. What is the average age of a first-time grandparent in the US, within two years? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What major US land acquisition won ratification by the US Senate by just one vote? ( 4 points)
2. What two countries fought a war from September 1980 until August 1988? ( 3 points)
3. What major UK city has the River Clyde running through it? ( 5 points)
4. Of all the African countries that border the Mediterrean Sea, which is by far the smallest in area? ( 4 points)
5. What is the world's warmest ocean? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Tina fey; 2. International Olympic Committee; 3. Miley Cyrus; 4. United Airlines; 5. Barry Bonds; 6. Japan; 7. She was crowned Miss America.

September 17th Trivia
1. Antietam; 2. New York; 3. Philadelphia; 4. Israel & Egypt; 5. Enterprise; 6. Richard Nixon; 7. New York Knicks.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. False, Hawaii; 2. true; 3. false, Yale; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, Army of Northern Virginia; 7. true; 8. true; 9. false, 1924; 10. false, "Casino Royale."

General Knowledge
1. Badminton; 2. eighty; 3. The Doors; 4. tango; 5. "Law and Order: SVU;" 6. Chile; 7. forty-seven.

IQ Trivia
1. Alaska; 2. Iran & Iraq; 3. Glasgow; 4. Tunisia; 5. Indian Ocean.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Testing Your 9/17 Recall On Tuesday

Tuesday Night Trivia at The Mad Hatter tomorrow night will feature "September 17th Trivia," seven questions about the day in history. (You'd be surprised that a few famous things occurred on that date.)

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"A person who is an octogenarian is at least what age?"

We get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night. The Mad Hatter is at 360 Third Avenue, just off of E. 26th Street. Hope to see many of you then for yet another quality night of Trivia Q&A!

The Last Two Weekends: Men (With Beards) vs. Boys

So what's better than a weekend of Yankee ass-kicking by the Red Sox? Back-to-back weekends of Yankee ass-kicking the Red Sox!

The Sox swept New York out of Fenway Park with a resounding 9-2 thumping last night, following on the heels of wins of 8-4 and 5-1. They outscored New York 22-7. How bad was this sweep for the Yankees? They led exactly one-half inning in the three games (when they scored a run in the top of the first last night).

The night began with the Red Sox tribute to Mariano Rivera, presenting him with gifts from the team. It was handled with real class by the Red Sox, and also by Rivera, a gentleman who was clearly touched by the ceremony.

The Sox got down to business in the first inning, which was capped off by a Mike Napoli two-run blast to center off Ivan Nova. (It was mixed night for Napoli. He also broke Mark Bellhorn's 2004 strikeout record, with K# 178. He was also ejected after he complained about it with the home plate ump.) The Sox went on cruise control, and Clay Buchholz pitched six effective innings, allowing just two hits. He has not allowed an earned run in 11 innings since his return.

It was win number 92 by the Red Sox, and it eliminated New York from the AL East race. (Congratulations to my buddy Jere, who nailed the exact date of the Yankee AL East elimination last night two weeks ago.)

The Sox take the season series from the Yankees, 13-6. It is the first time the Sox have beaten them 13 times in a season since 1973, and the first time anyone has beaten the Yankees 13 times in a year since the Orioles did it in 1976.

The Magic Number was lowered to 4, as Tampa Bay lost in Minnesota earlier in the day.

To say the Red Sox are smoking hot is an understatement. Since Ryan Dempster plunked Slappy, the Red Sox are an amazing 19-6, and have opened up a 9 1/2 game lead in the AL East. (Once again, so much for all that sportswriter BS about how that incident would rejuvinate the Yankees and how the Sox would look back on it with regret.) They have the best record in baseball, and lead Oakland by 3 games for the AL's best record.

100 wins now continues to be a real possibility. 8-3 in the remaining 11 games gets them to that lofty number. The Sox are off today, and face the Orioles at Fenway on Tuesday night.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Salty Drops The Number To 7

The Magic Number dropped to seven last night, courtesy of Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Salty broke a 4-4 tie with the Yankees in the 7th inning with a majestic grand slam that landed in the right field bleachers. The Sox went on to an 8-4 win, capped by Koji Uehara extending his "perfect game" to 37 batters with yet another 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Tampa Bay's win in Minnesota kept the Red Sox AL East lead at 8 1/2 games.

The number to eliminate New York from the AL East race is at 4, and if the Sox sweep the Yankees this weekend, they officially only have the Wild Card to play for.

The Red Sox have now won 90 games (the first MLB team to do so this year), and they are 21 games better than they were in 2012. That is one game better than the 1967 turnaround, when the Impossible Dream Red Sox went from 72 to 92 wins. It is the second best turnaround in team history. The best was in 1946, when the Sox went from 71 to 104 wins, an amazing 33 wins.

And speaking of 1946, the last time the Sox won 100 was that pennant-winning season. I think we can talk about whether the Sox can reach that number, as a 10-3 finish in the final 13 games will get them to that number. The most wins the Sox have had since 1946 was in 1978, when they won 99. They last won 98 in the championship year of 2004.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tough Morning. Happy Evening.

It was an emotional day at the World Trade Center site on Wednesday, to remember the victims of the worst attack on our country ever. It is still hard to get used to the idea it has now been 12 years since that awful day happened. But I am very proud to have been there to remember my late friend Joyce and all the other victims.

I got home yesterday afternoon and put on the TV and just relaxed. I wanted to do nothing but watch baseball. And I looked forward to another Red Sox game at Tampa Bay, and wasn't disappointed by the results.

Brandon Workman gave up single runs in the 7th and 8th innings, and it allowed Tampa Bay to tie the Sox at 3. But John Farrell brought Koji Uehara into a tie game in the ninth and naturally they went 1-2-3. The great Uehara has now retired the last 34 straight to set a new Red Sox record.

It became a very smart move, as Mike Carp (pictured) blasted a pinch-hit grand slam off Roberto Hernandez (I knew when he came in, a Sox win was at hand), and Junichi Tazawa closed the door for the win.

So how many of you were jumping for joy whe the Sox signed Uehara as a free agent, and traded for Carp this past spring?

They have become to integral parts of this amazing Red Sox season. Carp's blast was the first time ever that a Red Sox pinch-hitter has hit a grand slam in extra innings (and the first in MLB in 10 years). Uehara has now been perfect over 11 1/3 innings.

The win lowered the Red Sox Magic Number to win the AL East to 8. They are now 42-33 on the road, and have clinched a winning record away from Fenway for 2013. They are also 8-2 for September, which is more wins they have had in either of the last two Septembers. They have nearly matched the total number of runs they scored last September (78-76).

The Sox are now 89-58 overall, and lead by an amazing 9 1/2 games. They are 16-5 since Dempster plunked Slappy. (You remember that incident, right? That was the one that many idiotic pundits said would come back and "haunt" the Red Sox.)

BTW, I enjoyed listening to Derek Lowe do last night's game with Don Orsillo on NESN. He came across as knowlegable, funny and self-effacing. I could see him landing a broadcasting gig with someone down the road if he chooses to go that route.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

No Other Place In The World I Could Be Today

It has now been a dozen years since one of America's darkest hours occurred: the loss of nearly 3,000 people with attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon.

As many of you who read this blog know, my dear friend Joyce Carpeneto was one of that day's victims. I have honored her memory every year on this day here. I will be at the ceremonies on Wednesday morning, along my dear friend Deborah. We have been to all 11 of them, and I will continue to go to them on every September 11th as long as I live.

Everything in my life stops every September 11th. The Red Sox take a back seat today. It is the most sacred of days for me. The 9/11 Memorial is simply spectacular, and it is fitting tribute to those beautiful souls lost 12 years ago. (The picture above is of me, holding Joyce's picture from last year's remembrance.)

Every year I put the past September 11 tributes I have posted on this blog, and this year will be no different. Please feel free to check them out. It is some of the proudest things I have ever written. (The first one, from 2006, includes the memorial and poem I have written in Joyce's memory.)

2006: Forever Missed. And Forever Loved.
2007: Never Forget. Ever.
2008: We Can Be The Ones Who Remember
2009: The Most Sacred Of All Days
2010: 3000
2011: Ten Years After
2012: 11 Years

And as I have done the last few years, I will end with a quote from the TV series, "Third Watch." It was after the funeral for a firefighter lost in the attacks, and it was said by actor Bruce Weitz. The show was first broadcast in 2002, but 11 later, it is still as meaningful as it was then:

"It's been 233 days since September 11th. I've been to 28 funerals and memorial services and I should have gone to more, but some days I just couldn't face it. 233 days and in a few weeks it's going to be over. Everyone and everything that was going to be found will have been found. Won't be any place to dig. And then we are just going to have to walk away. And there will be a park with a marble monument with names that will slowly stop seeming like real people. Soon enough it will be just us. We will be the ones who remember. That's what we can do to honor the people we loved and lost. We can be the ones who remember."

We'll never forget you, Joyce, or any of those beautiful souls lost 12 years ago today. Ever.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Trivia Q&A: September 10

We had a pretty good crowd in on a beautiful night for Trivia. It was a close night between the top three teams, but the team in third place, There's Only One Quinn Who'd get Our Vote, and It's John, was the only one who got 3 of 5 correct in IQ Trivia (it was a tough round), and wound up with 40 points, and won by two points. Nice job as always by Pian and her friends.

Second place went to Our Team Name Is: Team Names Are Losers Like Justin Bieber's Puerto Rican Mustache with 38 points, and third place went to Something Obscure with 35 points.

Current Events
1. What American superstar actor was reported to Italian authorities recently for piloting a boat without a license?
2. What Middle Eastern country enacted laws against domestic violence for the first time in its history recently?
3. What city was chosen to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games last week, the second time they have ever hosted it?
4. What legendary actress was acknowledged by the Guinness people as having the longest TV career for a female ever, at 74 years?
5. Swimmer Diana Nyad completed a 53-hour swim between what two locations Last week, on her fifth attempt to do so in 35 years?
6. What Grammy-winning pop singer was chosen as the performer for the halftime show at this February's Super Bowl?
7. What controversial rap star was paid $3 million to perform at the wedding of the grandson of the president of Kazakhstan last weekend?

Outer Space Trivia
1. In 1976, Viking I became the first spacecraft to land where?
2. Exactly how many Apollo missions landed on the Moon?
3. Which of the planets has the shortest day, just 9.925 Earth hours?
4. In 1962, who was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth?
5. At its closest, which planet is closer to the Earth, Venus or Mars?
6. Titan is the largest satellite of what planet?
7. Approximately how many years are there between sightings of Halley's Comet on Earth?

Colleges and Universities Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Purdue
2. Rice
3. Tulane
4. Gonzaga
5. Johns Hopkins
6. Marshall
7. Morehouse
8. The Citadel
9. Wake Forest
10. Occidental

General Knowledge
1. What country is Tripoli the capital of? ( 1 pt)
2. Between Wimbledon, the US Open and the French Open, which tennis tournament is the oldest? ( 1 pt)
3. "The Murders In The Rue Morgue" was a short story by what 19th century author? ( 1 pt)
4. A muscat is a type of what fruit? ( 2 pt)
5. The bonnet on a car is found where? ( 2 pt)
6. What is the only South American country that borders both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea? ( 2 pt)
7. The Steamboat Geyser, the world's tallest active geyser, is in what US state? (3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Pristina is the largest city and capital of what Eastern European country? ( 4 points)
2. The St. Mary's River connects which two of the Great Lakes in the Upper Peninsula? ( 4 points)
3. Dan and Frank Carney founded what restaurant chain, now with 6,000 restaurants across the US, in Kansas in 1958? ( 5 points)
4. What is the only country that has both the Equator and one of the Tropics going through it? ( 4 points)
5. In what 2012 film are the protagonist's mental problems triggered by hearing the Stevie Wonder song "My Cherie Amour?" ( 3 points)

Current Events
1. George Clooney; 2. Saudi Arabia; 3. Tokyo; 4. Betty White; 5. Cuba to Florida; 6. Bruno Mars; 7. Kanye West.

Outer Space Trivia
1. Mars; 2. six; 3. Jupiter; 4. John Glenn; 5. Venus; 6. Saturn; 7. seventy-five.

Colleges and Universities Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Indiana; 2. Texas; 3. Louisiana; 4. Washington; 5. Maryland; 6. West Virginia; 7. Georgia; 8. South Carolina; 9. North Carolina; 10. California.

General Knowledge
1. Libya; 2. Wimbledon; 3. Edgar Allan Poe; 4. grape; 5. hood; 6. Colombia; 7. Wyoming.

IQ Trivia
1. Kosovo; 2. Superior and Huron; 3. Pizza Hut; 4. Brazil; 5. "Silver Linings Playbook."

Monday, September 09, 2013

Wait 'Til Next Year?

I have to admit that my mind really isn't totally on football right now, what with the Red Sox in first place and zooming toward a possible postseason berth.

But even with them wrapping up their weekend series in the Bronx yesterday, I did tune in to "NFL Red Zone," which goes from game to game every Sunday, and is blast to spend an entire football day with.

So I did catch some of the Vikings opener in Detroit, and it looked really promising from the start, with the great Adrian Peterson picking up from where he left off last December by running 78 yards from scrimmage the first time he touched the ball for a TD, giving the Vikings an early 7-0 lead.

It was all downhill from there. It was a sloppy loss for the Vikings, with mistakes galore on both sides of the ball.

The Lions went on to a 34-24 win (when did the Lions get Reggie Bush?), as AP did score two more TDs (one rushing, one passing), but was held to 15 yards rushing the rest of the afternoon.

As Brandon Workman was throwing a ball to backstop at Yankee Stadium yesterday, the Lions went into their "victory formation" at the same time. I sure wasn't a happy camper at those moments.

The Vikings head to Chicago next week, to face a Bears team that won yesterday. The Vikings simply can't open this season 0-2.

And Notre Dame got hammered in their final game against Michigan at the Big House on Saturday, 41-30. They've opened the year at 1-1 after their opener win against Temple at South Bend. Gotta feeling a return to the BCS title game isn't in the cards this year.

We'll Head Back Into Space On Tuesday

OK, we'll give this another go.

On Tuesday night, September 10th at 8 PM, Trivia at The Mad Hatter (E. 26th Street and Third Avenue) will feature "Outer Space Trivia", seven questions about The Space Age and the solar system we call home. (Sorry, there won't be any sci-fi questions this time.)

The Q Train lightning round will feature "Colleges and Universities Trivia" in honor of the new school year that is just starting up. I will give you the names of ten well-known institutions of higher learning in the US, and you have to tell me which state it is located in. (Obviously there will be no choices like Florida State or Texas A&M.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"A muscat is a type of what fruit?"

We get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night. Hope to see many of you then for a great night of Trivia Q&A!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

A Banner Weekend: 3 of 4

Before the series in the Bronx began on Thursday night, I was hoping the Red Sox could simply split the four games. It would have made me very happy.

But the Red Sox went one better than that. They came within an eyelash of a four-game sweep. Brandon Workman's wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth gave New York its only win of the weekend.

So be it. At least they hung two blown saves on Mariano Rivera, giving him 16 lifetime against the Sox. Will Middlebrooks homered off Rivera to start the ninth and tie the game. Once again, the Sox show no quit, even having Rivera three outs from a save.

The Sox exposed the faulty New York Yankees pitching, and battered them to the tune of 37 runs, 10 of which were home runs. It was an impressive display of power.

The pitching wasn't that great. Jake Peavy and Jon Lester turned in pretty good efforts, John Lackey had a hard time after the Sox gave him a nine-run lead on Saturday (after all the trouble he's had getting a W he gets a pass from me), and Felix Doubront got hit hard once again on Friday night. He will be skipped this week, as Clay Buchholz will make his long awaited return in St. Pete against the Rays on Tuesday night. Ryan Dempster goes Wednesday, and Jake Peavy on Thursday.

The Red Sox are now 7 1/2 up on the Rays, who won this afternoon in Seattle.

The news on Jacoby Ellsbury isn't wonderful, but it is not a disaster. He has a compression fracture in his foot, but John Farrell is hopeful he will return during the regular season. Here's more from Extra Bases.

Stompin' Their Way To a Season Series Win

OK, I'll admit it. I was nervous when the Yankees were scoring those runs late in yesterday's 13-9 win.

And I give John Lackey a pass for the 7 runs he allowed yesterday. It seemed like every game he pitched over the last month was 2-0 or 3-1 loss where the offense just didn't bother to show up. So when they hand him a 12-3 lead by the fifth inning, it can happen that a pitcher gets a bit too "comfortable" and the other team hits him a bit.

The Sox bent slightly, but didn't break in officially winning the series yesterday. They have now won all three series they played at Yankee Stadium this season, going 7-2 there. They have also won the season series for 2013 at 10-5 (with today and a three-game series at Fenway next weekend still remaining).

The smoking-hot Sox lineup has simply battered an ice-cold Yankee pitching staff for 34 runs in three games. Four more home runs by Mike Napoli (twice), Jonny Gomes, and the first MLB shot by Xander Boegarts ( a blast over the left field bullpen) gave them 16 over the past four games.

For more fun facts about this Yankee Stadium beatdown, check out this post by Allan at The Joy of Sox.

The Sox go for what could be an historic sweep today with Jon Lester on the mound. Tampa Bay's loss last night in Seattle puts them 8 1/2 games back. The Sox' Magic Number for the AL East title now stands at 12.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Another Night, Another Incredible Comeback

Another night, another soul-crushing, spirit-destroying win for the Red Sox over the Yankees in the Bronx.

Just another incredible comeback by the Sox, turning the tables on the Yankees after what they did in the seventh inning to the Sox on Thursday night.

They blew a five-run lead, capped by Mike Napoli's third grand slam of 2013. Shane Victorino hit a two-run shot in the eighth and the Sox added two more for good measure for a 12-8 win. Koji Uehara did his usual 1-2-3 ninth inning, and has now pitched a "perfect game." (He has retired the last 27 men he's faced in a row.)

The Never Say Die Sox have now scored 41 runs over the past three games, while their AL East lead has increased to 7 1/2 games, as Tampa Bay lost in Seattle. It dropped the Red Sox Magic Number down to 14 to win the division, and 10 to wrap up a post-season berth.

Felix Doubront got hit hard again, lasting just into the fourth inning again, and maybe in danger of heading to the pen. It looked like Ryan Dempster was heading there with Clay Buchholz returning on Tuesday, but now you have to wonder. Doubront would be in the pen anyway should the Sox go the postseason, so he may be there even earlier now.

And Jacoby Ellsbury missed last night's game with a foot injury he reinjured stealing second on Thursday night, and returned to Boston to examined. Looks like he misses the rest of the series. Jackie Bradley Jr. was recalled from Pawtucket and will play center on Saturday.

On the brighter side, the Sox have now won four straight, 11 of 13, and are 13-4 since Ryan Dempster plunked Slappy nearly three weeks ago.

19 games to play. I was hoping for just a split in the Bronx this weekend. The Sox now have that. And they play with the house's money today and tomorrow.

Friday, September 06, 2013

A "Game Of The Year" Candidate

I think last night's Red Sox game took about five years off my life.

What looked like a comfortable win looked like it was turning into a horrible loss, with the Red Sox bullpen melting down for six runs in the 7th. And with the Sox down to their last out against Mariano Rivera, Mike Napoli saved the day.

He singled to right, and Quintin Berry went in to run for him. He promptly stole second (he would have made Dave Roberts proud), went to third on an overthrow, and scored on Stephen Drew's single. It was the 15th time the Sox hung a BS (blown save) on Rivera, the most of any team.

The game stayed tied at 8 into the 10th, but when I saw Joba Chamberlain coming in for New York, a smile went on my face. I knew a Red Sox win was at hand.

And sure enough, Jacoby Ellsbury singled, stole second and scored on Shane Victorino's single. Koji Uehara was stellar yet again, getting the Yankees 1-2-3 in the 10th for his 18th save. (He is now three outs from a "perfect game." He has retired the last 24 hitters he's faced.)

It was an amazing night for the Red Sox. What looked like a devastating loss turned into a resilient win. You don't normally consider a game where you've blown a five-run lead a "Game of the Year" candidate. Championship teams win games like this. Nothing seems to faze these boys. And this is a soul-crushing loss for New York, who also had Tampa Bay and Oakland lose too, the two teams they were chasing for the Wild Card. (Baltimore's win puts them a half-game behind New York in the AL East.)

Tampa Bay's loss drops the Red Sox Magic Number to win the AL East at 16. And to wrap up a post-season berth, it is at 13.

The win last night also reminds me of that special night in September 2004, when the Sox scored two in the ninth against Rivera in New York to win, 3-2. I was at the Riviera in Manhattan that night and the place went ape in that inning. It was smack in the middle of that incredible run to the World Series championship.

It was also the 85th win of the year for the Sox. They now have won 16 games more than they have won in all of last year. (Doesn't that seem like a few decades ago?) In the fondly remembered year of 1967, the Sox bested the previous year by 20 games. Can they best last year by 30 games, and maybe win 100 for the first time since 1946? The Sox would have to go 15-5 in their last 20 games. A tall order for sure, but winning with two outs in the ninth and no one on looked like a really tall order as well last night.

You never know.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Asses Kicked. Names Taken.

The Red Sox wrapped up their nine-game homestand in grand style last night, with an historic 20-4 beatdown of the defending AL champion Detroit Tigers.

Before the homestand started, I was hoping the Sox could go at least 6-3. And I was optimistic about possibly going 7-2. 7-2 is exactly what they accomplished.

The Sox tied a team record of 8 home runs last night, and it was the first time in team history that 7 different players left the yard. For those of you scoring at home, they were hit in this order: Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, Will Middlebrooks, Danie Nava, Ryan Lavarnway, Ortiz again, and Mike Napoli.

 It was a nip and tuck game with Detroit at 5-4 in the sixth when Will Middlebrooks hit a grand slam that put the game out of reach at 10-4. The Sox went on to put up an 8 spot in the inning. (Who would have guessed that when the Sox were down 4-3 in the 4th inning that 17 more runs would have scored in the game, and the Sox would score all 17??)

And then 5 more in the 7th and 2 more in the 8th. 20-4. (Or as my buddy Jere wrote today: 20-04.)

An amazing night where David Ortiz not only hit two home runs, but his double was hit number 2,000 in his storied career.

The Sox took the series from one of MLB's best teams. After two nail biters, the Sox had an easy one. (Boy, what must John Lackey have been thinking seeing all those home runs last night?) And in my mind, they are making a statement for all of MLB to see: they are focused, taking on all comers, and have their eyes firmly on the prize. They are 10-4 since Ryan Dempster plunked Alex Rodriguez. Hot at just the right time.

Now the Sox hit the road for 7 games against division rivals New York and Tampa Bay.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel

Trivia was postponed last night, as the holiday weekend plus the upcoming holidays kept The Mad Hatter quieter than I have ever seen it last night. So we decided to call Trivia off, but we will be back again next Tuesday night, September 10th at 8 PM.

We will do the same Trivia next week that we would have done last night, with perhaps a few changes to Current Events. The two Special Categories will remain the same.

Hope to see more of you next Tuesday night!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Way Out Trivia On Tuesday

On Tuesday night, Trivia at The Mad Hatter (E. 26th Street and Third Avenue) will feature "Outer Space Trivia", seven questions about The Space Age and the solar system we call home. (Sorry, there won't be any sci-fi questions this time.)

The Q Train lightning round will feature "Colleges and Universities Trivia" in honor of the new school year that is just about to start. I will give you the names of ten well-known institutions of higher learning in the US, and you have to tell me which state it is located in. (Obviously there will be no choices like Florida State or Texas A&M.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"A muscat is a type of what fruit?"

We get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night. Hope to see many of you then for a great night of Trivia Q&A!

Winning Season, It's Good To Have You Back

The Red Sox pulled off a sweep of the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, and with Tampa Bay getting swept by Oakland, the Sox have opened up a 5 1/2 game lead in the AL East, their longest lead of the year.

They are now at 82-56, and that guarantees a winning season for 2013.

The Red Sox have won 8 of their last 10, and if they go .500 the rest of the way (12-12), Tampa Bay would have to go 20-7 the rest of their games to pass the Red Sox. And they are in the middle of a brutal West Coast trip, with 7 more to play on it.

Baltimore is 8 1/2 back, and New York is 9 behind, so their best road appears to be the Wild Card game, but that will be a tough task for both teams, with the Indians in the mix, and they have the easiest schedule of any American League team the rest of this season.

And I guess we can start talking about this subject now: the Red Sox Magic Number to win the AL East stands at 21.

A game that looked like a blowout on Sunday turned into a nail biter, as it went from 5-0 Red Sox, to 5-4 Red Sox. Then from 7-4 Red Sox to 7-6 Red Sox in the ninth, but Koji Uehara, who may well be the team's MVP, turned in yet another 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 16th save. He has an ERA of 1.19 for the year, and has allowed just one run in his last 36 innings. He's been simply remarkable.

The Sox have taken 5 of the 6 games on this homestand, and Detroit now comes in for three.

On a sad note, Daniel Bard was designated for assignment before yesterday's game. It appears his Red Sox career, which went off the rails in September 2011 and never seemed to get back on, is over. He'll probably have to take his next shot to revive it with another organization.