Question of the Day?

The ErnBlog Question of the Day is:

Which of these 8 choices is your favorite Boston Sports Champion of the 21st Century and Why?

A) 2001 New England Patriots

Vinatieri kicks in the snow/domes/grass, the kid named Brady napping before the Super Bowl then delivering in the clutch, and Ty Law’s six-pick interceptions are all parts of the Patriots’ first NFL Title. (Source: sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

B) 2001 Boston College Eagles Hockey

 

A Capricorn like Big Ern, a sophomore resident of 3rd floor 90 St. Thomas More like Big Ern, Brian Gionta (unlike Big Ern) was the best hockey player in the nation in 2000-01 and directed the Eagles to the National Title – the university’s first of four in the 21st century. (Source: blogs.democratandchronicle.com)

C) 2003 New England Patriots

Rodney Harrison arrived in New England in 2003 and joined Bill Belichick’s stifling defense that posted 3 shutouts and intercepted Peyton Manning 4 times for the AFC Championship.  Another Vinatieri field goal clipped the Panthers in Houston at Super Bowl XXXVIII. (Source: sportsofboston.com)

D) 2004 Boston Red Sox

 

David Ortiz’ game-winning homers, Curt Schilling’s “Bloody Sock”, Johnny “Disciple” Damon, Kevin “Cowboy Up” Millar, and Pedro pointing to the sky in St. Louis are all lasting images of the 2004 Red Sox. (Source: thebaseballpage.com)

E) 2004 New England Patriots

Tedy Bruschi, Tom Brady, Adam Vinatieri, Bill Belichick, Matt Light, Dan Koppen, and Kevin Faulk won their 3rd Vince Lombardi Trophy by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in Jacksonville at Super Bowl XXXIX. With their second straight 17-2 record and NFL Championship, yes, it was a Dynasty. (Source: boston.sportsthenandnow.com)

F) 2007 Boston Red Sox

ALCS MVP Josh Beckett dominated the 2007 MLB Playoffs and World Series. With help from a new cast of characters (Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, and Jonathan Papelbon) and with steady guidance from Manager Terry Francona, the 2007 Red Sox rose to the top of the baseball mountain again. (Source: bleacherreport.com)

G) 2008 Boston Celtics

The Big Three joined forces in 2007-08, and along with the strategy of Coach Doc Rivers, ended a 22-year title drought for the NBA’s winningest franchise. (Source: celticstown.com)

H) 2011 Boston Bruins

Zdeno Charo, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, and Tim Thomas standing on his head guided the 2011 Bruins to the original NHL franchise’s first Stanley Cup since 1972. (Source: greatesthockeylegends.com)

Ern Didn’t Start the Fire!

Studebaker:

1953 Studebaker (Source: www.wikipedia.org)

Studebaker was an American car company based in South Bend, Indiana that released its first ELECTRIC CAR model in 1902 before switching over to gasoline in 1904.  The company was started by five brothers.  In addition to some sweet looking cars, I bet they also had some cool parties! 

Studebaker also designed miliary trucks and personell/cargo carriers for World War II.  In the 1950s, the company struggled to compete on cost against Ford and the other dominant American car manufacturers.  Studebaker closed up shop in the US in 1963 and then finally in Ontario in 1966.

Television:

)

 A 1955 Television (Source: backtothefuture.wikia.com

The word television is of mixed Greek and Latin etymology and means “far sight”.  And if you consider the literal meaning within the context of reality, television has truly extended the view of several of the world’s inhabitants since its rise to popularity during the 1940s in the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and Germany.

Here you can see the 1955 hit show The Honeymooners televised on Marty McFly’s grandparents’ screen in the movie Back to the Future.  It was in that year that families all across America could watch Jackie Gleason in black and white while they ate their dinners.

For the record (Source: wikipedia.org), here are some TV historical facts:

Highest Gross Revenue Television Company in 2011: Samsung

Most Widely Produced Television Type in 2011:           LCD-TV

Most Watched Program:                                           Final Episode of MASH (1983) (CBS)

 

Most Watched Sporting Event:                                Super Bowl XVI in Suburban Detroit     (San Francisco 49ers vs. Cincinnati Bengals in 1982) (CBS) 

 

Most Watched Olympic Event:                                 Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding in the Women’s Figure Skating Short Program (Lillehammer, Norway) (1994) (CBS) 

 

 

Ern Didn’t Start the Fire!

During this Summer 2012, ErnBlog will take a moment to reflect on each of the twentieth century icons highlighted in Billy Joel’s 1989 hit tune.

US Senator Joe McCarthy (R – Wisconsin) (Source: wikipedia.org)

Joe McCarthy:

Joe McCarthy was a US Republican Senator from Wisconsin from 1947-1957 who believed that Communists were secretly positioned throughout the United States as citizens planning to overthrow our democratic form of government.  Although short, McCarthy’s years in the Senate were filled with drama and espionage.  He lambasted President Harry Truman for firing General Douglas McCarthy during the Korean War.  A former Marine, McCarthy took a special interest in the US Armed Forces, conducting an investigation of the Army to ensure that liberal ideas had not circulated into the military hierarchy. 

During his Congressional career, McCarthy played a key role in the development of the US House of Representatives’ Un-American Activities Committee, that conducted hearings of suspected American communists.  In 1953, an American couple, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed after it was discovered that they stared atomic bomb secrets with the Soviets.

In general, however, McCarthy’s ideas were mostly paranoid.  The US won the 30-year Cold War with the Russians; a struggle that actually challenged America to achieve several of its ecomonic and techological goals.  A pinnacle of these accomplishments occurred on July 20, 1969 when American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to step foot on the Moon.

US President Richard M. Nixon (Source: pokerplayer.com.uk)

Richard Nixon:

US President Richard Milhous Nixon is the only person referenced twice by Billy Joel in the song.  This first mention of Nixon is in association with his career as Vice-President under President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s.  Born on January 9, 1913, Nixon was a Capricorn like Big Ern.  The 1950s was a tremendously successful time for the United States as industry boomed, new super highways were developed, and more Americans than ever were purchasing their own homes. 

Unfortunately for Nixon, one of the most successful and involved Vice-Presidents in history, he was not able to capitalize on the popularity and legacy of the Eisenhower Administration in his 1960 Presidential bid.  The 1960 Presidential Campaign was the first to be widely transmitted into most American homes via television.  Nixon’s opponent, US Senator John F. Kennedy (D – Massachusetts) was rich, tall, eloquent, and handsome.  In nationally televised debates, Nixon portrayed himself and clumsy, awkward, and most importantly – easily angered.  This association of anger with Nixon would remain with the American public for the rest of his life.  Kennedy won the 1960 Presidential Election by one of the most narrow margins in history. 

In 1964, back in his home state, Nixon made another push for office, running for Governor of California.  He lost again and in his speech acknowledging defeat, Nixon uttered one of his most famous quotes, “The American people aren’t going to have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore.”  But, as Billy Joel sings, Richard Nixon would be “back again” in 1968.

Ern’s Top 20 Songs of Today

1. Tonight is the Night by Outasight (Source of picture: wbr.com)

2. I Like it Like That by Hot Chellie Rae

3. The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga

4. Dynamite by Taio Cruz

5. Good Life by One Republic

6. Starships by Nicki Minaj

7. Drive By by Train

8. Party Rock by LMFAO

9. International Love by Pitbull and Chris Brown

10. Last Friday Night by Katy Perry

11. What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

12. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jespen 

Carly Rae Jepsen (Source: fanpop.com)

13. Payphone by Maroon 5

Maroon 5’s Adam Levine (Source: fanpop.com)

14. Part of Me by Katy Perry

15. Scream by Usher

16. Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes

17. Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars

18. Wild Ones by Flo Rida

19. Super Bass by Nicki Minaj

20. Moves Like Jaggar by Maroon 5

20 Years Have Passed, But the “Dream Team” Legend Still Shines

The “Dream Team” receiving their Olympic Gold Medals at Barcelona’s 1992 Summer Games. (Source: bet.com)

I’m sure several of you heard that Kobe Bryant got himself into a little hot water during an interview yesterday.  Bryant was practicing for a Team USA exhibition game when somehow the Dream Team came up in conversation.  Kobe, who is my age, speculated as to what it might be like if his 2012 Olympic squad were pitted up against the 1992 Dream Team.  Bryant envisioned a strategy in which he would cover Michael Jordan and LeBron James would defend Magic Johnson.  Then, Kobe crossed an inexcusable line by stating that this year’s Olympic team would have a chance to beat the Dream Team. 

Although Kobe and I are the same age, Big Ern’s memory is apparently superior.  While Bryant imagined a scheme to disrupt the offensive chemistry of Jordan and Magic, he seems to have forgotten the other all-time NBA weapons from that Barcelona team.  When Kobe reads this post, I urge him to reflect upon the picture above.  Who is going to stop John Stockton and Karl Malone?  What about Patrick Ewing and David Robinson under the basket?  In truth, Kobe, I do think that Kevin Durant could give Scottie Pippen some headaches on both sides of the floor.  However, Charles Barkley (a Dream Teamer who I haven’t even mentioned yet) said yesterday that he thinks that Durant, LeBron, and Kobe himself would be the only members of this year’s Olympic team to even MAKE a roster spot on the Dream Team!  With Dwayne Wade sidelined due to a minor injury and therefore not included in this discussion, I tend to agree with Sir Charles. 

Other Dream Teamers that haven’t been mentioned yet include Larry “Legend” Bird, Clyde “The Glide” Drexler (one of the best players on that team), and Chris Mullin (one of the greatest college basketball players in history from former Big East power St. John’s).  Speaking of college players, Michael Jordan recently discussed the role of Dream Teamer, Christian Laettner in NBA TV’s 90-minute special, The Dream Team (airing all summer randomly on NBA TV and highly recommended by Big Ern).  Jordan explained that practices leading up to the Barcelona Games were so competitive that Laettner often was not invited to participate in the pick-up games by their two captains (Jordan himself and Magic) for fear that the 1992 NCAA Player of the Year from Duke might cost the team a scrimmage win!  Laettner, is the ONLY member of the Dream Team that is not in the NBA Hall of Fame.

Just to use more than numbers (20 years) to illustrate just how long ago the Dream Team stormed the Olympic courts in Barcelona, I give you two images from the perspective of another sport – baseball:

 

LA Angels All-Star rookie outfielder, Mike Trout. (Source: bleacherreport.com)

Washington Nationals rookie All-Star outfielder, Bryce Harper (Source: wikipedia.org)

Mike Trout and Bryce Harper (both rookie All-Stars) are two of the best players in baseball right now.  Trout leads the AL in not only batting average (over .340), but also in stolen bases with 26.  On Tuesday night, Harper became the youngest player EVER to start an All-Star Game.  Trout and Harper (at 20 and 19 years-old, respectively) were not yet born when the Dream Team won the Gold back in 1992.  I know, Kobe, it’s fun to conjure up dream matchups in your head between the present and past, but as another LA Lakers 5-time NBA Champion, Magic Johnson succinctly reminds us all: “There’s only one Dream Team, baby!” 

Ern Didn’t Start the Fire!

 During this Summer 2012, ErnBlog will take a moment to reflect on each of the twentieth century icons highlighted in Billy Joel’s 1989 hit tune.

Joe DiMaggio:

Ern and Brown at the now defunct DiMaggio’s restaurant in San Francisco (2010)

With a 56-game hitting streak in his MVP season of 1941, 9 World Championships, 13 AL All-Star Games, and 3 years in the US Air Force during World War II; there is little question as to why Billy Joel closed out his 1940s verse of We Didn’t Start the Fire with the Yankee Clipper!

Ern Didn’t Start the Fire!

During this Summer 2012, ErnBlog will take a moment to reflect on each of the twentieth century icons highlighted in Billy Joel’s 1989 hit tune.

South Pacific:

source: wikipedia.org

South Pacific is the 1950 Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical produced by Rodgers and Hammerstein.  Debuting on Broadway in 1949, the musical was based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener, a story set on a US Naval base in the South Pacific during World War II in which an American nurse falls in love with a Frenchman and an American Navyman becomes enamored with a young Asian woman.  The musical is considered to be one of the greatest ever produced.   

Walter Winchell:

American columnist Walter Winchell (source: wikipedia.org)

Walter Winchell, a New York City-born Jewish-American, was the first well-known gossip columnist in the United States.  His column On Broadway began to appear in The New York Daily Mirror in 1929, before being syndicated throughout the world up until the early 1960s. 

Winchell also hosted a Sunday night radio show for New York City’s WABC.  During World War II, he is famous for having continally expressed public media support for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Winchell is also well known for being at the center of the media coverage associated with the 1932 kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s baby son.

Ern Didn’t Start the Fire

During this Summer 2012, ErnBlog will take a moment to reflect on each of the twentieth century icons highlighted in Billy Joel’s 1989 hit tune.

Red China:

Tiananmen Square’s Portrait of Mao (source: wikipedia.org)

Mao Zedong became the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China in 1945, a position that he held until his death in 1976.  Perhaps there is no bigger symbol of communism today than Mao’s Portrait hovering over Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.  The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing gave the world a rare media opportunity to take a glimpse into “Red China”, a place where government censorship of speech, press, and demonstration still reigns supreme.   Mao was also a philosopher, taking much of his early roots from the founder of Russian communism – Vladimir Lenin.  In 1972, Richard Nixon became the first sitting US President to visit China, where he met with Mao.  Over the next twenty years, relations between the US and China softened.  But after Russian communism fell in 1989, China emerged as the banner of socialism in the world and thus, US-Chinese relations began to frost over, particularly over the political situations in Taiwan, Tibet, and North Korea. 

China is the third largest nation in the world and the most populous with 1.3 billion residents.  About fifteen years ago, whenever the topic of World Population arose, China would typically be quickly associated.  However, now India appears to have the world’s most significant population concerns with 1.2 billion people covering a much smaller area.

Johnnie Ray:

American musician Johnnie Ray (source: allposters.com)

Johnnie Ray was an American jazz and blues star in the 1950s who set the tone for “Rock ‘N Roll” as we now know it.  A teen idol, he topped the charts in 1952 with Cry and Little White Cloud that Cried.  In general, “crying” became a symbol of Ray’s music, referenced in several of his songs.  He also did some acting, portraying Steve Donahue in the 1954 musical film There’s No Business Like Show Business.  In more recent television age, Ray also briefly appeared in the 1982 Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ Come On Eileen music video.