JGT, J Michael, and Carl were just talking playoffs on the Facebook page on Sunday night. If you wanna see who they think are the favorites, the sleeper picks, and the Cinderellas, give them a listen here.
Checked out our new quizzo-inspired podcast! Each week my buddy Nat the Truth and I do a deep dive on a question we’ve recently asked at quizzo…Week 1 was Leopold and Loeb, Week 2 was Heaven’s Gate. New episodes released weekly, and you can listen to them all here, or on itunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.
A young man I used to coach and I have started a small charity and had our first event over the weekend, a block clean-up at 15th and Allegheny. It was awesome: music, burgers, and a great turnout. The org is called Us Not I, we’re going to be doing a lot of events this spring and summer (and as the weather gets warmer, some crossover quizzo/cleanup events), and I’d love to have you guys follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see what we’re up to.
Yes, I am talking to some outdoor venues about starting up some outdoor quizzes. I am hoping we can be ready to rock and roll in a month or so. In the meantime, we are kicking off April Madness 2. Your team wanna join the fun? You can learn more and sign up here.
WHY: Because you want to have an awesome time on the ONLY Saturday the 29th you’ll see until 2024, answering trivia questions, performing on stage, and engaging in general inanity.
WHAT’S THE ENTERTAINMENT? Pat Finnerty Live Band Karaoke.
HOW’S THAT GOING TO WORK? Simple. You’re going to drop three songs you want to sing in a bucket. They’ll draw out requests. They know so many songs that they’ll certainly know one of three. If they draw your song, you’ll get on stage to sing…but don’t blow it! Fastball Bob will be in charge of the gong.
HOW MUCH ARE TICKETS? $25, same as they’ve been for the past 15 years.
WILL THERE BE A CHARITY COMPONENT: Yes and it’s one I’m excited about. We’ll be doing a 50/50 during the quiz, so be sure to bring some cash. Juliette is a Vous regular and a teacher at Freire Charter School, and they have a field trip coming up…TO SPAIN! Most of these kids have never left Philadelphia, much less gone to another country, and I think it would be awesome if our community could help raise a few hundred bucks to help make sure this is a terrific trip.
WHAT’S THAT MEAN? Quizzo has gone too corporate, too mainstream. We need to return it to its roots!
WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I don’t know. I’m just making this up as I go.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN A TYPICAL QUIZ GAME? It’s completely different. Video rounds, live music, special guests, guests who aren’t special, huge trophies, ETERNAL GLORY. It is a distillation of everything great about quizzo rolled up into one magical night.
ARE YOU HIGH? I wish.
IS THERE AN AFTERPARTY? Yup! For those of you who haven’t been to Underground Arts before, there’s a main area (the stage) and a “lounge”. The afterparty will be right next door in the lounge.
WILL THERE BE FOOD AND DRINK SPECIALS? Yup, and Underground Arts has legendary tamales maker Jenn Zavala (if you have never heard her Philly BLunt interview, YOU ARE IN FOR A TREAT) running their kitchen, so the food is going to be awesome.
WILL THERE BE A PRO PHOTOG? Yep! Photo Lady Marissa will be on hand to take pro pictures of all participants.
WILL THERE BE PRIZES? Plenty.
WHAT AM I WAITING FOR? I have no idea. Buy your tickets. We’re at about 50 sold, 150 left. Let’s goooooooo!
Here’s a great opportunity to handle some of your Christmas shopping early for any baseball fan on your list: the best baseball writer in America, Jayson Stark, will coming to Shibe Sports next Tuesday, November 25th at 5:30 p.m. to sign copies of his latest book, Wild Pitches. In addition to signing the book, he’s also going to open up the floor for questions about the book, baseball, and the Phillies starting at 6 p.m. If any of your friends are big baseball fans, please help spread the word! You can RSVP here.
Here they are, folks! FInal scores to this year’s JGTAI. Teams in Yellow made the first team, and will get an invite and have a chance at a bonus prize. Teams in orange made the cut and will receive an invite. The two teams in red earned an automatic invite a few weeks ago. Teams in light purple are on the bubble…if teams ahead of them decline an invite, they could still get one.
The event will be next Sunday at the City Tap House at 5:30. More details are coming soon. If you have not made the cut, there is still hope. This is wild card week, and teams that win this week earn an automatic invite.
Invites will be sent out on Tuesday…if you made the cut, and are on one of the following teams, please shoot me your email so I can get you your invite (you can contact me at johnny at johnnygoodtimes.com):
I’m excited to announced that Tailgate Trivia will be airing on Phillies Nation TV Tuesday on CN8 at 6 p.m. I’ve been wanting to get something like this off the ground for years, and I’m thrilled that the very talented guys at Phillies Nation decided to give it a shot as part of their weekly baseball program. We had a ton of fun shooting it, and I hope the fun we had translates onto camera (I haven’t seen the segment yet myself). If it does, I thinking it could be the start of something really cool. We combined baseball trivia and wiffle ball to create something goofy, fun, and different than anything I’ve seen on sports television. I hope you’ll check it out.
Plenty of teams come out to the quiz without getting their names up in lights with a first place finish. But they are the wheels that keep this bad boy rolling, and every once in a while, they deserve to be recognized. So this’s week we’re taking a pic of every team that plays, which I’ll then be posting on the JGT Quizzo facebook page. (Those of you trying to earn extra points for the JGTAI: You’ve got until tomorrow morning to post a pic of you wearing obnoxious red lipstick and/or boxing gloves)
Action starts tonight at North Star at 7 p.m. A very winnable quiz. If you are looking to earn some points in the JGTAI and help Philly win the Tycho Brahe Cup against numerous cities across the country, then this is a great chance to earn some points. Plus we’ve got $3 Kenzingers and half off hummus and mussels. FInally, I’ll be giving away some tickets to the upcoming show of your choice. This is a great quiz. Come on out.
On to the Sidecar. Great beer, great food. Can you knock off the Sidecardigans (pictured, above)? Action starts at 9:15 p.m. Hope to see ya tonight!
The physical challenge for the past week was to post a photoshpped photo of Rocky and Rocky Horror Picture Show, and we’d vote for the best one. I expected to get like one or two. I got 8, all of them very well done. I’ve selected one from each team that submitted one, and now it’s up to you to vote for which one was best. Votes will be added up and winner determined tomorrow at 5 p.m. Each team got 3 points for submitting one, one team will get 3 bonus points for having the best one (plus a bonus prize of some sort). I’ll post the pics below, you vote above for which one you liked best. Why are we doing this? Because we’re having a Rocky Horror Balboa Picture Show quiz this Sunday at 8 p.m. at the Trestle Inn. More details soon.
Quite a few years ago, I went down to Mexico to do some work at a dolphin facility. The vast majority of the employees were Mexican, and it was probably pretty obvious to them that I was getting paid quite a bit more during my few weeks there than they were. I worked hard and I tried to earn their respect, though they had every right to begrudge me.
A few nights after arriving, I went out for drinks with a few guys on the staff. We went to a small beer stand that had all of its seats outside. The guys I worked with ordered the first round of beers and we sat around and chatted. At one point I went up to grab a couple of brews. When I came back, one of the Mexican guys I was working with who spoke fluent English (and didn’t demand that I speak fluent Spanish) asked, “How much did you get charged for those?” I told him $2.50 each. A more than reasonable price, I thought. He was apoplectic. He stormed toward the counter, screaming in Spanish. It turned out that the bartender had charged everyone else $1.50, but had charged me a buck more. He went up one side of the bartender and down the other, then came back to the table and said, “Come on, let’s get out of here. Nobody is going to treat a friend of mine like that.”
I still get goosebumps when I think about that. A guy I had only known for a few days had seen me as more than just some gringo coming in to make some money. He had stuck up for me when I got treated like shit by a bartender for the crime of not being from that country, and for not speaking that language. My friend didn’t see me as an American coming in to make money for a month and then blow out of town. He simply saw me as another human being, a fellow man who was deserving of respect.
And that’s perhaps why I personally found Joey Vento so infuriating. He took the complete opposite approach from my friend. He saw people working their asses off to make less money than he and his friends, but showed no respect for them. He saw them not as fellow humans worthy of his respect, he saw them as “invaders” who were “murdering like 25 of us a day…molesting like 8 of our kids a day.” He took the debate from a reasonable one about how to deal with illegal immigration and turned it into a race war, bashing Mexican “anchor babies” and “drug dealers”every step of the way. Furthermore, he ripped the immigrants inability to speak English, calling them “morons” .
All of this without a hint of irony, despite the fact that his own English was highly suspect. And though he admitted that his first-generation grandparents never mastered the English language, he simply couldn’t understand why current first-generation Mexicans failed to do so, and mocked them for it. His supreme lack of irony would have been amusing had it not been so spiteful.
At the time Joey Vento opened Geno’s Steaks, his father was in jail for committing murder, while his brother was imprisoned for drug dealing. Undoubtedly, there were many Americans who at the time would have held the Vento family up as an example as to why America needed to stop admitting so many Italians into this country, and why Joey Vento didn’t deserve a chance to start his own business. (Make no mistake, there was until recently ample anti-Italian sentiment in this country.)
But anyone who did so was wrong. Joey Vento was his own man. He was not his brother, he was not his father. He was an individual, a human being. And because this is America, he got a chance. By working his ass off, he made the most of it. He turned a $2000 investment into the most famous cheesesteak restaurant on earth. He was the very embodiment of the American dream.
He walked and talked with a swagger, and he had every right to. In business, he became what every American who has started a business with little more than the change in his pocket and a dream in his head wanted to become. He had built more than a success, he had built an institution, and he had done it all through his own blood, sweat, and tears.
But when immigrants came to his neighborhood, some legally and some illegally, most with the same dreams that Joey’s grandparents had…not coming with the hopes of striking it rich, but coming with the hopes that perhaps their grandchildren would have an opportunity to have a better life than they had…he treated them the way his grandparents had been treated by so many small minded Americans 100 years ago. He had risen from humble beginnings into a position of power, and then used that power to oppress people because they spoke a different language, came from a different culture, and were a slightly different shade than his ancestors.
In his view, they (his most commonly used phrase in every speech I’ve heard him make was “those people”) were not people trying to make things better for future generations that they might not even live to know, like Joey’s family had. “Those people” were “criminals” and “child molestors” and “drug dealers” and “murderers”. His appreciative audiences roared, and he was feted as a patriot by 1210 AM and FoxNews.
It was Thomas Jefferson’s dear Italian friend Philip Mazzei who wrote to Jefferson in the early 1770s that it was his belief that “All men are created equal.” Because Thomas Jefferson co-opted the phrase (Mazzei originally wrote it in Italian, but instead of insisting that he “Speak English”, Jefferson decided to translate it from the Italian) and used it in the greatest document ever written, Joey Vento got a chance in this great nation to make his dreams come true. He made the most of that opportunity, and his family and friends have every right to be proud of his incredible achievements. He not only ran an internationally renowned cheesesteak joint, Joey donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charitable causes, $60,000 a year to a local hospice alone. In a city probably populated by more characters than any other city on earth, he was as colorful as anyone, and in the terrific documentary This is My Cheesesteak, he came off as hilarious, charming, and unique. If it wasn’t for the xenophobia, I have a feeling I would have really liked the guy.
I offer condolences to his family and hope that he Rests in Peace. But I regret that he became a hero for a small group of people who are looking for simple answers to complex problems, instead of a hero for a whole city. He was a remarkable man. It’s a shame that instead of being remembered solely for his business acumen, his gregarious nature, and his charitable heart, his legacy will also be that he seemed to believe that some people deserved to be treated differently because of their culture, language, and country of origin. It is worth noting that there is a bartender in Mexico who feels the exact same way.
Good week this week. Two first time winners, Savage Ear stays red hot, a bounty is claimed, things continue to rock on at North Star, and the Magnus-Jams rivalry is alive and kicking at the Vous. With summer winding down, I thought I’d do a little rundown of how things are shaping up these days at each bar.
NORTH STAR– Really liking this room, and the North Star seems to be happy with how things are going so far. Some weeks, when the artists are up for it, we’re gonna get live music here too. See ya Monday at 7 p.m.
O’NEALS- Hitting an “end of the Summer lull”, so things aren’t as packed as they were a few weeks ago. Regardless, nobody is touching Savage Ear right now. Now that they’ve cut some dead weight (Greg and Toddfather), they seem to really be hitting their stride.
CITY TAP HOUSE– The very definition of the calm before the storm. Been quiet the last couple of weeks, but in two weeks you won’t be able to buy a seat. Of course, I didn’t do myself any favors by opening with an Elvis round. I think the kids at Penn these days look at Elvis the way we look at Glenn Miller. With Rock ‘n’ Roll as dead as Big Band music, Elvis doesn’t hold nearly as much relevance as he held even a mere 20 years ago. It’s interesting to note. Just my two cents.
LOCUST RENDEZVOUS– Apparently the formula for constant success at quizzo is great food and drink specials. Who knew? The Rendezvous did. Furthermore, about 5 years ago, when things were a little shaky there, they didn’t pull the plug. Glad to see that place rocking each and every week. One of my favorite places to host quizzo. My only regret? What happened to the Inglorious Barristers? I miss those guys.
BLACK SHEEP– Lots of parity these days, with 3 winners in the past 3 weeks. Can your team make it 4 outta 4 this Wednesday?
UGLY AMERICAN– Speaking of parity, things are still wide open at Ugly American. 8 different winners in the past 10 weeks. If your self confidence needs the boost a quizzo victory can provide, this is your best bet.
BARDS– Things have just been wild at Bards lately. Rap battles, potheads, faceoff fights. This is the wildest quiz on the circuit right now.
Big news in the JGT Quizzo world. Next, week I’m going to take my talents to North Star Bar. I will be hosting a quizzo there every Monday at 7 p.m. More details coming later in the week. And after the quizzo, there will be live music. Should be a fun night out. If you have peeps in that area that are looking for a good quiz, let ’em know.
From People magazine, January 1997. The best part is highlighted, though the whole paragraph is pretty tremendous.
Clerk Robert Waller was working the late shift at the Wal-Mart in Fredericton, N. B., when Elmo-mania hit him. Literally. It was after midnight on Dec. 14, and a crowd of about 300 had gathered to get their hands on the store’s latest shipment of Tickle Me Elmo, that vibrating, giggling, must-have toy of the holiday season. Waller, 27, was holding an Elmo when the crowd spotted him—and stampeded. “I was pulled under, trampled—the crotch was yanked out of my brand-new jeans,” says Waller, who suffered a pulled hamstring, injuries to his back, jaw and knee, a broken rib and a concussion. “I was kicked with a white Adidas before I became unconscious.”
Just think about that. It’s not bad enough you’re being run over by dozens of people. It’s not bad enough that they give you a concussion, a broken rib, and a pulled hamsting. It’s not bad enough that they “yanked” the crotch out of your jeans and left you lying there, unconscious and crotchless. But what really seemed to bother Robert was that these jeans were BRAND NEW. That’s just going over the line. I mean, if you’re going to give a guy concussion over a stuffed animal, that’s one thing, but don’t rip the crotch out of some jeans that he just bought. Now you’re just being inconsiderate.
The Denver style quiz was weird. There were some things I liked about it and some things I didn’t. I liked the fact that you could blow it on one topic and still have a chance to win, and I liked the audio rounds. Those of you who didn’t play Thursday (and that was most of you. Where the hell was everybody on Thursday?) missed a damn good music round. Here’s a sample of what you missed. What did you think of the Denver style quiz? Vote here.
Next week we’re going to start acting like adults, with our “Cartoons, Comics, and Kid’s Stuff” week. There will be plenty of questions about the things that you were into when you were a kid, whether you were a child of the 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s. Video games, board games, cereals, Saturday morning cartoons, Barbie dolls, etc.
We’ll also have an “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” style round, with my mom writing questions she’s asked her 4th graders through the years. And of course child stars. Lots and lots of child stars. This is gonna be a good one. Oh, and speaking of cartoons, Koob and Kristy will be hosting an all-Simpsons quiz on Monday at Chenango.
There are rumors that I’ll be hosting a regular quiz in the Art Museum/Fairmount area in the near future. Are they true?
And JGTSI scores coming Monday. There are two weeks left to get your team in the mix and represent Philly in the City vs. City Smackdown. Otherwise, you’ll have to take your chances on Wild Card Week, where to earn an invite you’ll either have to win that week or perform some damn hard physical challenges. You’ve got until Monday to earn 6 points via a very easy physical challenge. If you wanna earn an invite to the most important quizzo in Philadelphia’s history, 6 quick points can get you right in the thick of things.
Aneelios Fan Club was the winning team at quizzo at Elizabeth and Dan’s wedding reception last Satruday night in Skippack. The bride and groom showed that they know a thing or two as well, as their team finished 2nd. If you’d like a creative way to celebrate your wedding, company meeting, birthday party, club function, or Co-Op Meeting in Baltimore, please feel free to shoot me a line.