199 Quazes on the wall …

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Emmanuel Lewis: The elusive non-Quaz.

Every now and then, perhaps for no good reason, you do something simply because it seems fun.

Like The Quaz. Or, um, the Quaz. It’s been four years, and I’ve never quite figured that out. Is it The Quaz? Or the Quaz? Either way, I can tell you what “Quaz” means, because it’s a word I invented. It’s a joke word; short for “quasi-famous.” Which—ironically—fails to describe many of the 199 people who kindly participated in my little ol’ Q&A series. They’re not quasi-anything. They’re famous. Accomplished. Awesome. Amazing.

Which is why I’m writing this.

Today, in my own little self-congratulatory way, I’m paying homage to what I truly consider to be one of the serendipitous prides and joys of my journalism career—this Q&A series, which turns 200 tomorrow with, perhaps, my favorite Q&A of the collection (stay tuned). The Quaz kicked off on March 23, 2011 when, after watching a Wonder Years re-run with my kids, I e-mailed one of Kevin Arnold’s old girlfriends and asked if she’d be up for some questions. Luckily, Wendy Hagen was both lovely and game—and she now goes down as the George Washington of Quazland (sans the wooden teeth).

My primary goals have always been randomness and quirkiness. Just the other day one of the most random and quirky people I know, Frank Zaccheo (Quaz No. 6, for the record), asked whether I’d allow Kim Kardashian to be Quazed. My immediate answer was a big no. Could there be a less random and quirky person than Kanye West’s temporary wife? No, what I go for here are folks from all walks of life, who have the potential to fascinate me. The Nazi. The Tea Party woman. The Jackie Robinson stunt double in 42. John Oates and Tommy Shaw and Shawn Green and one of the singers from Danity Kane.

I’ve never made a buck off of my weekly Q&A series. I have no sponsor. Nobody bribes me to be interviewed. I wanted it to be a round of 10 main inquiries, with some goofy follow ups (The Express). In case you haven’t been keeping score, the Quaz has incorporated four of Kevin Arnold’s Wonder Years love interests, 47 athletes, 34 members of the media, four clergy, 33 musicians, three business executives, 24 people in either TV or film, five political figures, 10 artists/authors, three sex workers (named appropriately: Glitter Goddess, Sydney Screams and Jenny DeMilo), 10 folks of great courage (fighting disease, starting a charity, etc.) and 22 who I’ve placed under the heading of “Quirky” (balloon animal guy, memory champion, etc.). I’ve also had a large handful of people agree to be Quazed, receive the questions—then never respond. I won’t point to anyone, except to say that these people might include Young MC, the cowboy from the Village People and NBC’s Josh Elliott. Hey, no one’s perfect.

Anyhow, I pretty much spent 1 1/2 days compiling the following listing, which is a memorable quote from all 199 Quaz Q&As. I thank everyone who has taken the time to be interviewed, and I also thank those who have continued to read.

It means the world …

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“I got this message on Niteflirt from someone inquiring about doing a call with me: ‘Can we do a call where you are a cake baker, and I am a powerful and famous food critic? You are furious because I wrote a review for your carrot cake in the New York Times saying it was too dry and lacking hearty texture. So you kidnap me and smoosh a carrot cake with your butt, and then sit on my face with your cakey butt and make me eat the carrot cake and yummy white frosting out of your gorgeous ass. All until the forced cake feeding makes me admit that the cake is delicious and the review was a lie because I was paid off by your rival French cook, Lisette.’”

Glitter Goddess, pro dome and Quaz No. 185, on the strangest request she’s ever received.

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“Words cannot express the anguish. Every year I say to myself that if my current health and disability stays at its current level and doesn’t get any worse I’ll be just fine and can handle it. However year after year there is always a noticeable decline in my condition. Don’t know where it stops. I’m always looking for disability enhancements to place in my home to make my life easier and safety paramount. My quality of life has continued to decline at a steady pace over the years. I don’t know when I’ll finally say to myself, ‘I can’t do it on my own anymore and I think it is time for me to utilize a 24/7 facility to care for me.’ The thought is scary, but I am a realist.”

Frank Zaccheo, Multiple Sclerosis sufferer, my longtime pal and Quaz No. 6, on fighting an awful disease.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.43.34 AM“I was working at Avis, driving rental cars from the airport to the parking lot, parking lot to the airport. This was in Phoenix. I needed to know what it was like to have a real job. I didn’t need the money. I had a Mercedes outside. I was the only guy working there like that—even my boss had a Mercedes. People knew who I was. And so I’m driving this big blue 450SEL to a job where I was making $4.25 an hour. And the year before I made almost $400,000 playing Major League Baseball. I needed the humility.”

Ellis Valentine, former Major League All-Star and Quaz No. 109, on his first job after leaving the game.

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“The first man stopped about three feet from the door, about two feet from me, looked me in the eyes and said, “You’re gonna to die, you’re gonna to die.” He pulled out a cooking knife with an eight-inch blade and proceeded to stab me in the face under my left eye. When he cocked his arm back for another plunge, I shot for his legs to take him down. While I was taking him down, he carved the side and back of my head three times. After taking him down, from the bottom, he was slashing upward while I was trying to catch his hand. His first swing sliced my thumb down to the tendon. His second swing sliced my arm to the Tricep muscle. Finally, on his third swing, I was able to catch his wrist, slam his hand down and he dropped the knife.”

Joseph Lozito, New York City subway attack victim and Quaz No. 173, on his near-death experience.

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“It doesn’t matter to me personally what you ‘worship’—personally, I’m an agnostic. What we are against are people who do harm to our people. Why Jews then? OK, it’s like this—look at all these Wall Street Banksters. How many of them are Jews? It’s the same throughout the entire financial sector—private or government. We are determined to pry these Jewish fingers, with their interest-slavery usury, from our people’s economic life! Per the average Jewish guy, who owns a deli, or is a dentist—unless they actively support what we call the ‘Jewish Power Structure,’ or are actively against our efforts—we have no problems with them. Believe it or not, we have had people self-describing themselves as ‘Jews,’ contact us and state that they agree with pretty much everything we’re saying, but they obviously can’t join because they are ‘Jews.’ Too bad they had to bring it up—if they were sincere in fighting Judeo-Capitalism they could have been of use.”

Rocky Suhayda, chairman of the American Nazi Party and Quaz No. 55, on what he thinks of Jews.

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“I will not make body parts when I’m at a restaurant. Not because I have a moral code that dictates ‘balloons are supposed to be clean,’ but because of common sense. Most places I work at are family friendly joints, so I have to politely decline requests of penis hats.”

Marcial Gutierrez, balloon artist and Quaz No. 192, on phallic requests.

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“Please, call me Dipshit.”

Erin Stern, Ms. Fitness Olympia and Quaz No. 129, on whether she’d rather take large quantites of steroids for one year or legally change her name to Dogcrap Dipshit II.

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We were on a plane with the Atlanta Rhythm Section way back when. We hit the worst turbulence I have ever experienced, kind of like the scene in Almost Famous where the drummer spilled the beans a little too much. I looked behind me and a couple of the ARS guys had bottles of Crown Royal turned up. The flight attendant spilled an entire tray of Cokes on ice on Chuck Panozzo. I’m actually on a plane right now as I write this answer and I’m laughing my ass off recalling that image.”

Tommy Shaw, Styx guitarist and Quaz No. 3, on the time he thought he was about to die.

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“The African American woman comes from many different shapes, sizes, backgrounds, shades, but is still multi-talented and intelligent. Often times, African American women have a difficult time competing and advancing in mainstream pageant systems. For example, looking at the Miss USA and Miss America systems there are typically very few minority women represented. I do not think it is because we are any less capable or beautiful, but our beauty may be seen as different in their eyes.”

Alexcia James, Quaz No. 94 and Miss Black Iowa, on the need for a pageants for African-American women.

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“Most of the soap fans were really nice. Some of them were really grabby. Most of them were clean. Some of them smelled like old ham. For people who loved soaps, they didn’t seem to love soap.”

Kyle Brandt, Jim Rome producer, former Days of Our Lives star and Quaz No. 188, on meeting soap opera fans.

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“Badly written books are agony, requiring so much more effort to just make presentable. You have to tweak lines over and over with emphasis and inflection just to make them comprehensible. Great stuff is like buttah. Like driving a classic Mercedes 500 SL. Smooth, silky, powerful. Bad ones? I have been known to stick my head out of the booth and scream, “This guy sucks!” at my 13-year-old black Lab, who parks herself outside the booth while I record. Thank god she’s deaf and doesn’t notice.”

Malcom Hillgartner, audio book narrator and Quaz No. 135, on working with high quality vs. low quality material.

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“Historically, the question that haunts every society which has had to deal with injustices in their midst is, Why didn’t we try harder? There is no one answer to that, not everyone had a social conscience, and it’s always easier to pass judgment in retrospect. When I was a child, I accepted things as they were. Black children went to their own schools, I assumed they were receiving the same education as me. There were times we played together, but both black and white kids simply accepted that we would all return to our own ‘places.’ There were instances which confused me, such as I remember hearing about black scholars burning down their schools and believing the propaganda fed to my parents and reported in the papers. I couldn’t understand why any children would want to burn their schools down. As I grew into a teenager, the truth began to dawn on me … education was not free for black children, the conditions were  close to impossible for any learning to take place, and eduction was forced to be in English and Afrikaans, and not in their native language. More and more I became aware of what was going on in my country, the terrible stories came to light.”

Amra Faye Wright, Chicago star and Quaz No. 10, on memories of growing up under apartheid in South Africa.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.49.17 AM“I know death. I held my brother’s hand when he died, and I spent the whole time with Ty when he died. And I was with both when they took their last breaths. Both of them were unconscious prior to it. Ty was … we took Ty home from the hospital and we told him, ‘You don’t have to go to the hospital anymore. You’re gonna get better, and you don’t have to get treated anymore. You’re gonna be able to walk and run and play.’ I don’t know if he knew. He knew he was very sick. He definitely knew he was very sick. But I don’t know what he thought of as dying. We didn’t talk about dying with him. We talked about it more as he wasn’t going to have to go to the hospital any longer. That he would go home.”

Louis Campbell, father of a young boy who passed of cancer and Quaz No. 152, on Ty’s final moments.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.29.38 AM“Anyone who knows me knows I’ve always been a huge Melon guy. When the first record came out I was 12, and I just fell in love with that band. I remember putting that record in, and every song kicked ass. It’s funny, because my least favorite song on the CD is No Rain—which, of course, is Blind Melon’s trademark song. Man, I turned so many people onto that band. I’d say, ‘You have to forget about the Bee Girl song. Just listen to the whole thing.’ Shannon Hoon had one of those voices unlike anything that came out. They weren’t a grunge band, they weren’t a rock band. They were special. Guitar wise, there was no rhythm and no leads. It was like rhythm leads, and if you took one of them out, musically it would make no sense. Each band member brought special things to the table. A huge day was when I turned 18—I had a tattoo of Shannon Hoon put on my back. It’s the picture from Rolling Stone magazine, where they’re all wading in the water. I cut the picture out of the magazine and brought it to the tattoo parlor. It didn’t come out that well—the girl who did it didn’t know what she was doing. I said, ‘Hey, can you do this?’ She said, ‘Oh, yeah.’ I never even got it finished. It’s just the outline. One day I’ll have it completed.”

Travis Warren, Blind Melon lead singer and Quaz No. 17, on his eternal love for the band’s music.

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“The boys knew how hard I’d worked and when the chance for redemption came, they bugged my coach to let me get in. It meant a lot and was really indicative of my time at New Mexico. Sometimes I think I am the luckiest girl in the world to have been with such an amazing group of guys. And the kick—in a way, the moment just happened. It was something I had been working towards for so long (literally years), but in the end, it was just a cool part of this unbelievable journey of getting to be a college athlete and do what I love.”

Katie Hnida, former kicker and Quaz No. 92, on being the first woman to score in a Division I college football game

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“I don’t understand why society thinks so highly of fame and works so hard to be famous. It’s a dangerous road if you’re on it for the wrong reasons.”

— Shannon Bex, Dannity Kane singer and Quaz No. 64, on fame.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.27.34 AM“I did a Coke commercial. I was probably about 12-years old. It was pouring down rain. I was standing on a tractor with an open can of paint in one hand and I was supposed to jump off the tractor . . . into a flock of chickens. I was freezing and scared to hurt the chickens. I think I did the jump once, the chickens didn’t really flee (none were injured or anything, but it was awkward) and paint went everywhere. Then the social worker/studio teacher put an end to that action and they changed the scene up a bit. And of course, that scene was cut out of the commercial.”

Wendy Hagen, former child actress and Quaz No. 1, on the worst experience of her career.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.55.02 AM”I believe that you get what you give. If you’re negative, it comes back. It is too easy to complain, and take people down. I believe that type of behavior is the toxic waste of our society. I refuse to join. So I choose to spread joy, and love and understanding. It’s hard to be thoughtful and caring. It is easy to be a jerk.”

Chris Dessi, social media expert and Quaz No. 199, on staying positive.

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“I don’t pee on people because I’m pee shy. I might pee in a cup and pour it over someone’s head but peeing on someone? I just can’t make it happen.”

Jenny DeMilo, professional escort and Quaz No. 33, on one of the services she offers.

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“I was outraged by the New York Times Online Edition and the New York Post front page posting an overhead graphic photo of my brother that was recognizable to anyone who knew him, lying in a pool of blood. The photo was taken by someone in my brother’s office building and sold to the New York Times for $300. As a brother of the victim and former journalist, it sickened me that someone made the decision to run that photo. As for the Sand Hook coverage, I think the rush to be first with a story has led to so many inaccuracies. They identified Ryan Lanza, the 24-year-old brother of the murderer, as the initial suspect. It was reported that the mother was a teacher in the school, and was killed along with her class. When did get it first instead of get it right become the norm? In our case, reporters would not stop calling my parents’ house, which led me to hold a press conference outside their home. At least in Sandy Hook, I believe the press has respected the victims’ privacy and allowed them to grieve privately.”

— Paul Ercolino, brother of a murder victim outside the Empire State Building and Quaz No. 81, on his anger with the media.

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“I was scared shitless. James Brolin’s doctor character was supposed to be giving me a shot and the gag was that I, a large teenager, was afraid of needles—so my nervousness worked for me. As we prepared to shoot the scene Brolin, holding my arm and able to feel my pulse pound, announced: ‘We’d better hurry up and shoot this before this kid has a heart attack.'”

Dirk Blocker, actor and Quaz No. 84, on his first gig, on “Marcus Welby, M.D.”

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Hey, like every print reporter, I used to make fun of TV people. I used to consider them glorified readers and empty, professional story stealers. Until, I had to do what they do. The shit is hard, period. The teleprompter is the devil. I could completely flesh out a thought in a 1,000-word column, but I might get 40 seconds to do the same on air. I’m totally subconscious about how I look. I seriously have this reoccurring nightmare that I’m going to fall out of my chair on 1st and Ten and bust my ass right on national TV. Welcome to my nightmare.”

— Jemele Hill, ESPN on-air personality and Quaz No. 12, on transitioning from print to television.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.54.40 AM“Well I wouldn’t have chosen it if you’d asked me what my life ambitions were in my early twenties! However, in some ways it has allowed me to make sure my friends and family know I love them and to do some amazing activities over the past three years. I think of it as a kind of gremlin we now carry with us every single day, which sometimes sits quietly and allows me to live my life relatively normally, but sometimes chooses to prod me hard to make sure I know it’s still there.”

Kate Granger, doctor, patient and Quaz No. 196, on what it’s like to be dying of terminal cancer.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.30.20 AM“I remember one time, we were in a hotel in Scotland, and Chuck D got the phone bill for the trip and he couldn’t believe it—Flav had spent something like 10,000 pounds calling his different baby mama’s for two-straight days. He was nuts. He’d knock on our hotel door at 6 a.m. and ask me and Serch to follow him around town. He’d take 40 random kids to McDonald’s for breakfast. Just … because. When we were in an airport in Germany, Flav fell to the floor near the security check and went into convulsions on the floor and started spitting up loads of blood like he was dying. Chuck and the S1W’s were coming to his aid and all of a sudden Flav jumped up on his feet, and said ‘Fake blood, G! From the magic store with Pete and Serch! Yeah BOYEEE!’”

Prime Minister Pete Nice, rapper, baseball historian and Quaz No. 23, on touring with Public Enemy in the early 1990s.

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“Honestly, more than I would have ever expected. It’s amazing how fast you go from being a celebrity to just a person. And that’s good in most ways, but hard in some, too. Fame can be kind of intoxicating. And if you’ve played 10 … 20 years, you’re very used to it. And all of a sudden it no longer matters who you are. You’re out of the game a few years, you’re pretty close to forgotten. I mean, to this generation of kids Michael Jordan is no different than black-and-white images of Mickey Mantle or Babe Ruth. It seems so distant.”

Shawn Green, former Major League All-Star and Quaz No. 52, on whether he misses the adulation.

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“Boston’s racial climate is just as alive as it’s always been. The scary part is, racism doesn’t just mean white or black Americans, but the Haitian immigrants who come to Boston frown upon people of their own race (black), and the Polish hate the Irish (white). Boston is just screwed up —period. The only thing that diversifies Bostonians is hip-hop culture. Gay, straight, black, white … doesn’t matter when you share the same culture. American culture ain’t cuttin’ it alone.”

Quadeer Shakur, Zulu Nation minister of information and Quaz No. 127, on racism and Boston.

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“’Something’s happened, there’s been an accident and Jon-Erik’s in the hospital.’ I was woken one Saturday morning. I can remember it well. My first thought was that he’d stupidly hurt himself, the price for always kidding around, we were always hurting ourselves, and we always healed. Especially him, he was the closest thing I’d ever know to a real-life super hero. Later that day I heard the term “brain dead” and it was the first time I’d ever heard that. I pictured him running around, with that smile, catching a football, and those blue eyes, and just no brain, but all the other happy, light-heartedness still intact. And then that thought passed and I realized the first person I ever knew to die was now dead, and he was the best, least deserving to die, most full of life person I had ever known. You grow up a bit in that moment.

— Meeno Peluce, former child actor and Quaz No. 8, on how he learned of the death of Jon-Erik Hexum, his friend and Voyagers! co-star.

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“I feel the question is no longer relevant. Considering she doesn’t have to now that we have a league of our own in the WNBA. Great debate question 15 years ago, no longer necessary.”

Tina Thompson, WNBA legend and Quaz No. 34, on whether a woman will ever play in the NBA.

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“I have been told that someone Google searched me to do that and it kind of creeped me out. I appreciate honesty and even though I am a complete pervert it’s not something that I want to hear or visualize. I want to be desired and people are entitled to do that in whatever way they please.”

Brittanie Weaver, model and Quaz No. 86, on the idea of men pleasuring themselves to her images.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.28.52 AMHaunted? No. Shit, I’m very proud of the career I had and the things I did. Derek is a friend of mine. I couldn’t be happier for him. Jason Giambi and I grew up together, and he was drafted later in the first round. There were a lot of guys in that draft. The baseball draft is so messed up and complex. The projections for baseball—Major League scouts have the toughest job in the world.”

Phil Nevin, former Major Leaguer and Quaz No. 11, on being drafted ahead of Derek Jeter.

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“I find ‘It Happened One Night’ to be completely unlistenable (I don’t like my singing on it at all, but then I’d only just started) but I don’t shout about it. And also I’d note that I don’t listen to any of my music ever. Do any artists?”

John Wesley Harding, singer and Quaz No. 75, whether it’s OK for artists to acknowledge their own shit work.

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“We don’t walk from point-to-point anymore to go the store or wherever, we sit all day in our jobs, cheese, Scandal and Modern Family and Orange is the New Black and whatever else you like encourages you to stay on the couch when you’re not working, Dairy Queen is effing good, mashed potatoes, being busy makes us tired and tired make us not want to do anything but eat bowls of Doritos, and on and on. Take all that into consideration and making good choices feels like you’re swimming upstream.”

Ted Spiker, author of “Down Size” and Quaz No. 177, on why we’re so fat.

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“The worst feeling is having your cartoon dropped by a newspaper. It’s not only embarrassing, it can put a dent in your paycheck if it’s a large circulation paper. About 10 years ago my favorite client, the Washington Post, dropped ‘Speed Bump,’ and I was devastated. It felt like a huge step backward. Then over 400 people complained, and it was reinstated (at an even larger size, weirdly enough), so that was my second-greatest moment, I guess.

Dave Coverly, syndicated cartoonist and Quaz No. 25, on his lowest career moment.

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“With Billy Martin as manager, a beat writer’s night only was beginning when the game ended. You had to find Martin in the bar. It was a competition issue. Martin would talk about his team and his players in brutally honest terms when he drank, and if another writer was there and you were not, well, you missed not only the information but also the standing of being a “Billy guy.” Moreover, there was the high probability that Martin just might wind up in a fight with somebody. To survive, I had to borrow a trick from Buck Showalter, who loved to learn from Martin’s baseball intellect: the only way to keep up with Martin was to occasionally dump your drink into a potted palm.

Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated baseball writer and Quaz No. 83, on covering the New York Yankees and manager Billy Martin early in his career.

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“The reason most people still haven’t kicked meat to the curb is because they want to remain blissfully ignorant. When you eat meat, you call it a hamburger or steak, instead of calling it what it is which is cow. If it said COW or PIG on menus I truly believe less people would eat it. Furthermore people would rather turn a blind eye to how animals on these horrible factory farms are being treated. If you saw the pictures I saw when I first went vegetarian you’d probably stop eating meat too.”

Cindi Avila, chef and Quaz No. 20, on being a vegetarian.

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“Have I come to terms with it? You have to. Does it irk me? Yes, because—as I’m sure I’m not the first filmmaker to say it—the final product was very different from the movie I made. My version was much darker and all the heaven scenes were re-shot. In my version God had become fed up with the world and had decided to flood it again. Between the Holocaust, Vietnam War, Elvis dying and other disappointments he decided to end civilization. Only until the angels convinced him to show that man was still inherently good—did he decide to give civilization a second chance. Which, by the way, was the name of the movie—Second Chance. Until it was re-titled. Bottom line, though it put me in movie jail, it’s all part of the journey.”

John Herzfeld, veteran film director and Quaz No. 32, on the critical reaction to Two of a Kind, the 1983 film he directed (that starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John).

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.43.22 AM“I’ve met wrestlers who made hundreds of thousands of dollars in the 1980s and at the time I bet a huge chunk of the money went up their noses, paid hotel bills, rental cars, child support, lawyer fees—all while paying a mortgage for a house and supporting a family that never saw its father. Wrestling is the worst drug because there will always be a wrestler looking for one more run. The only retirements that I’m aware of in wrestling usually end up with a headstone.”

John Miele, wrestling promoter and Quaz No. 108, on the inability of grapplers to walk away from the gig.

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“I remember walking out to the floor at Tropicana Dome, seeing 44,000 basketball fans and feeling overwhelmed. I also remember feeling like a tiny ant. I know that might make sense but I just felt very small and thousands of people staring down at you. I have always been an NCAA basketball nut growing up and to make it and play in the Final Four was surreal. When we lost by three points and the final buzzer went off, it was pure devastation. The NCAA Tourney is such a long journey and it when I realized we had lost it just felt like ‘Man, this was such a long journey and boom, it’s over.’ I think Coach K said it best recently after they lost to Arizona. ‘Look, the tournament is cruel. It’s an abrupt end for everybody.’ That quote right there nails it.”

Chris Burgess, college and pro basketball player and Quaz No. 2, on playing for Duke against UConn in the 1999 national title game.

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“Social media has led everyone my age to believe that every thought they have throughout the day is important and worth sharing with the public. Social media has been in my life since the sixth grade, and because it’s been in my life my entire teenage years, I have literal documentation of everything I’ve ever done or thought from age 12 to now. It’s horrifying. No one should be reminded of how awful they were when they were 14 and 15.”

Emily Schaeffer, high school senior and Quaz No. 190, on social media and teens.

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“For me it was in Atlantic City on an independent team. I had been trying to come back from surgery and was on my second independent ball stint. I was getting roughed up a little and was spending too much time between pitches and all of a sudden I hear our center fielder yell out, ‘Lets go! Throw the ball!’ I stepped off the rubber and looked out at him in center and thought, ‘What the heck am I doing here? I can’t get the lowest level of players out and now I am getting ragged on by a guy who has probably never played above A ball.’ After the game I told our manager, Wayne Krenchicki, that I was done and that he didn’t need to pay me for that night’s performance.”

Dave Fleming, former Seattle Mariner ace and Quaz No. 36, on how he knew his baseball career was over.

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“I had just had an 11-pound baby so it looked like Betty’s husband died and she ate a lot.”

Tracy Reiner, actress and and Quaz No. 156, on reprising her role of Betty Spaghetti from “A League of their Own” in the short-lived TV series of the same name.

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“Daryl and I have a very unique relationship. We’re very unique individuals. And it’s a very, very complicated and huge question you just asked. You know, it has to do with our personalities; it has to do with our personalities, that they don’t conflict with each other but they somehow compliment each other. He has what I lack, I have what he lacks. And together, we make almost one complete person—in a weird way. And at the same time we are smart enough to respect each other’s individuality and independence and not put any restrictions on each other. One thing Daryl and I have never done, even from the very beginning—we never put any restrictions on each other in terms of what we were going to do and how we were gonna do it. When he wanted to make solo albums, even early on in our Hall and Oates career, I was perfectly fine with it. In fact, it gave me opportunities to do other things. So I looked at it in a positive way. A lot of people would say, ‘Oh, Daryl’s making solo albums, how come you aren’t?’ Because I’m doing other things. I’m learning how to fly airplanes and racing cars and trying to enjoy myself when I’m not on the road. So I had a different agenda.”

John Oates, legendary singer/songwriter and Quaz No. 66, on how he and Daryl Hall have lasted for four decades.

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“I’ve had 16 football-related surgeries, including nine knee surgeries and more than a dozen concussions. Some days are better than others. Today some weather came in so my back, neck, and knees are sore. I am 50-years old now, and I find that as I get older it gets harder to ignore the toll of 12 years in the NFL. Many of the long-term effects of football, especially the effects of concussions, are just now coming to light. Trying to add games to the schedule as these medical discoveries are being released is foolishness. How can the NFL tell the public and players they are concerned about safety in the game and then try to add two more games a year?”

Karl Mecklenburg, former Denver Broncos Pro Bowler and Quaz No. 9, on the NFL considering an 18-game season.

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“There have been a few occasions where no one is listening and I am literally playing to myself. In those moments, I’d rather go outside and finish the show for myself than to keep interrupting the crowd’s ballgame or NASCAR race. But usually there is at least one person paying close attention, and as long as there is that one person enjoying what I am doing, well, I feel like I’ve done my job.”

Andrew Stratman, country singer and Quaz No. 176, on playing to a small crowd.

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Is she in hell? I don’t know. I really, truly don’t, and won’t say one way or another. All I do know is that Jesus died for her as well as he died for me, and whatever her relationship with God is or is not for eternity, it’s based on God’s love and our choices. All I can do is share the gospel and allow the people I encounter to experience that love and make their own choice.”

Drew Snyder, senior minister at the Ashland Christian Church and Quaz No. 13, on whether my great-grandmother (a Jew who died in the Holocaust) is in hell.

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“People thought I was angry, but I wasn’t angry per se. What I wanted was to be left alone. I loved to read. I loved to compete. I loved chess. I loved art. (I was an art major at Iowa) What I did not like was school. I hated school. I hated being stuck inside. I was super competitive, and I wanted challenges. So if I seemed angry it was because I was forced to be in a classroom that was not reaching me.”

John Degl, former Iowa wrestler, my high school tormenter and Quaz No. 133, on the misunderstanding of a perceived bully.

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“I was a cheerleader at BYU. Cosmo the Cougar is the BYU mascot—who is part of the cheer squad. Although he denies it, I know he became the mascot to meet cheerleaders. Anyway. He’s 6-foot-5, so he was the tallest mascot ever at the university. He’s an animated guy, very funny … and in college we spent a lot of time together. The next thing I know, we were married.”

Amy Freeze, ABC meteorologist and Quaz No. 82, on meeting her husband Gary while they were undergrads at BYU.

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“His TV show review was, if possible, even worse [than his print review]—he did it with Richard Roeper, and Roeper was so angry at the movie that he started raising his voice, and it built to this crescendo that ended with Roeper literally yelling, “One of the worst movies of the year!” and Ebert yelling back, ‘Absolutely!’ Didn’t bother me a bit. No. It was painful. And kind of a cosmic joke—because, again, what got me hooked on writing was the positive feedback from an audience.”

Geoff Rodkey, screenwriter and author and Quaz No. 7, on having “Daddy Daycare” slammed by Roger Ebert.

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“It was a shock for the first 45 minutes. I did get a few phone calls from family members. It did not bother me or upset me because I am alive and well.”

— Kel Mitchell, actor and Quaz No. 164, on the rumors of his death.

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“It’s 1993—middle of the night flying home from Seattle after a night game. We feel a big jolt and bump and look out the left side of the plane and the engine is on fire. Only a few of us were awake at the time. It seemed like forever before anyone even responded … we were like, ‘Hey, I don’t know much about flying, but the WING’S ON FIRE!’ Finally a flight attendant came back, saw what we saw and immediately reached over and shut the window shade! Like that would make it go away. Then they shut off the left engine and we went with one. Had to land in Kansas City to get a new plane. It was funny to see everyone’s reactions—some crying, praying etc. The truth rears its ugly head.”

Jack McDowell, 1993 A.L. Cy Young Award winner and Quaz No. 28, on the time he thought he was about to die.

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“What we stand for is personal freedom, economic freedom and a debt-free future for future generations. We think spending is out of control. A lot of us think this country is headed toward European-style socialism, and that’s scary.”

Kevin Broughton, Tea Party official and Quaz No. 171, on his organization’s beliefs.

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“I take it for most people, politicians are portrayed as inept, corrupt, shallow and the like. In my house they were heroes. I mean, you couldn’t be a more romantic hero than FDR or JFK. My dad’s dad was a good old-fashioned Jewish World War II liberal. He hated Ronald Reagan with a visceral passion – and he could not countenance being friends with someone who felt otherwise. I remember one time when I asked what he would do if he found out Mom voted for Reagan. He looked at me seriously and said, ‘I honestly think I would have a hard time staying married to her.’ When I was 6-years old, my dad introduced Jimmy Carter at a rally. Carter came to the stage and picked me up in his arms. I think I still have a picture of that signed by him. When I was ten, my dad held a fundraiser for Ted Kennedy at our house. I still remember being upset when the Secret Service wouldn’t let me into certain parts of the house because Kennedy was speaking out back.”

Seth Davis, Sports Illustrated writer, son of Clinton special counsel Lanny Davis and Quaz No. 35, on growing up in politics.

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“Anything I missed out on, all the hard work, the sacrifice, the blood, sweat and tears, it was more than worth it. The moment is only fleeting for those watching from the couch. For Olympians, that accomplishment is something we take with us forever. It’s not about how much money you can make off of it, or what kind of career you can ride it into. That stuff comes for some, but it is not why most of the athletes are there and why they’ve worked so hard for so many years. It’s about the chance to perform your best against the best in the world. It doesn’t always turn out well, but regardless of the outcome, the experience is its own reward. The motto of the Olympic Committee is ‘Once an Olympian, always an Olympian. Never former, never past.’ We feel that. We live that. It is an exclusive club and I am glad to be a part of it.”

Bev Oden, Olympic volleyball player and Quaz No. 61, on whether the Summer Games are righteous payoff for all the work.

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“The late night shows are some of the best days for me. They feel like what I dreamt the job would be like when I was a kid. I love hanging around set and watching dress rehearsals and meeting the other guests. As a musician, you arrive at 8am, do a soundcheck, a camera run-through, break for lunch, do a second camera run-through, get dressed and then suddenly you hear David Letterman say your voice and your singing and then its over. It’s a rush and before you know it, you’re packed up and outside in a car going home.”

Eric Hutchinson, singer/songwriter and Quaz No. 93, on appearing on national television.

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“The socialization of boys regarding masculinity is often at the expense of women. I came to realize that we don’t raise boys to be men, we raise them not to be women (or gay men). We teach boys that girls and women are “less than” and that leads to violence by some and silence by many. It’s important for men to stand up to not only stop men’s violence against women but, to teach young men a broader definition of masculinity that includes being empathetic, loving and non-violent.”

Don McPherson, former Heisman Trophy runner-up, feminist and Quaz No. 5, on how society screws up men.

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“I think being a girl in the Orthodox world is very challenging. So much expectation, such a sense that you are supposed to be a “good girl.” Some people are happy with this, I know, but for those of us who are not, it can feel like you are bursting out of the walls of your world, erupting inside your own body. Some of these girls act on this and leave the world, and some stay and try to make changes from within, and some live in a state of conflict, as I did, where your outsides don’t match your insides.”

Tova Mirvis, author and Quaz No. 147, on growing up as an Orthodox Jew.

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“Greatest misconception ever. Little do many people know my stepdad was a Jewish white man. ‘Us’ has never been that. I created FUBU because Timberland made a lot of negative comments and many other designers did about not wanting a different color or segment of the market to wear their clothes and I would never create a company of the same prejudice that made me feel alienated. So ‘Us’ was about the hip-hop culture. It was about kids, black, white, yellow, whether living in Germany, Japan or America, who all loved Run DMC.”

Daymond John, FUBU founder and Quaz No. 116, on the perception the brand was exclusively for African-American kids.

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You go from making big checks every two weeks to making no checks. Or, if you have to get a job, getting checks that don’t compare. To put it in perspective, at one point I was making more than $400,000 every two weeks. It’s for six months, but still, c’mon. It’s ridiculous. We’ve been fortunate to have saved wisely, so I don’t have to work. But the adjustment, at least for me, well, I believe for all retired athletes, is the responsibility. You are now in the real world.”

Russ Ortiz, former San Francisco Giants ace and Quaz No. 4, on adjusting to life after baseball.

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“Nothing can prepare you for it, and no one can explain how it will feel. I think in some ways it’s similar to losing anyone you are close to – you miss them terribly, you can’t believe they are gone, you still catch yourself sometimes talking about them like they are in the present or that they may walk through the door. But, I think the difference when you lose a child is the intensity of that feeling—I never understood the expression a “broken heart” before but I remember at times literally feeling so sad and scared that I thought my heart might stop, truly like it was “broken.” I also worry sometimes that I could have been a better mom to Alex—with so much to do for Alex and three other young children, I wonder if she felt how much I loved her every second she was alive.”

Liz Scott, Alex’s Lemonade founder and Quaz No. 56, on losing her 8-year-old daughter.

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“I am not a low talker but I remember they were having trouble casting it. I did the audition sort of twirling my hair near my mouth to give a reason for sounding muffled. Larry David asked me to do it again without the twirl and it worked, I didn’t need it.”

Wendel Meldrum, actress and Quaz No. 99, on becoming “The Low Talker” on Seinfeld.

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“As the offensive tackle blocked down (away from me), I knew the back was coming to block me. We crashed into each other head-first and carried on with the play. A micro-second after we hit, I saw the color purple—and I ain’t talkin’ Whoopi and Oprah. I mean, literally, the top-left of my vision turned purple with a yellow trim. It was wild. I didn’t get a headache or feel any pain. I shook it off and after about four seconds the sky turned that beautiful blue again.”

Pierre Walters, former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker and Quaz No. 153, on what a hard NFL hit feels like.

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“The day of, I brush the horse, and tell it things that are between him and me. Sometimes I’ll get hit with a wave of sadness, but I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing it away. I brush their tail and cut off a piece which will get braided and labeled and added to a jar I keep by my desk as a memory of those lost. I usually prefer to be alone when the vet comes, and try to schedule it at a time when there are no volunteers or staff that have to watch. I always hold the horse myself when the injection is administered. I feel it’s my responsibility to see it through, and want the horse to have a friend with it when the time comes.”

Bonnie Hutton, horse racer and Quaz No. 139, on what it is to put down an animal.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.52.33 AM“I did meet Dr. Dre while I was there! I ran into him in the hallway and the elevator several times. Every time, I wanted to come off totally cool and say something super in-the-know about the music industry or something. But I just said, ‘Hey.’ I’m sure one of these days he’s gonna remember that chick in the elevator who said ‘hey’ all the time and call me up for some advice.”

Laurenne Sala, former Beats By Dre copy writer and Quaz No. 179, on her interactions with Dr. Dre.

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“George Steinbrenner went through a time then when it seemed he wanted an all-star platoon at every position. I think they really lost any sense of strategic direction for a while—then got it back relatively quickly. I never had any run-ins with George, but the thing that struck me about playing in New York then was this:  As a player anywhere you play you have to deal with one or two of three ‘pressures.’  Either the media is maniacal, or the fans are maniacal or the owner is maniacal. In New York all three were maniacal.”

— Roy Smalley, former Yankees shortstop and Quaz No. 13, on playing in New York in the 1980s.

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“The first reason I think would be because actors and actresses work with their faces; we constantly see those faces and get to know them so well that we can recognize anywhere. So I would assume that is largely responsible for why they are so enamored by the public. Secondly, I believe that when people watch films or TV, there is the possibility that they will immediately gain a personal relationship with an individual storyline that perhaps can be a missing puzzle piece for whatever might be going on in their lives at that moment. They empathize with the characters they watch and thereby connect with the performer. When those performers are seen in public, people tend to want to describe and be grateful for being given that gift of emotionality and association.”

Natalia Cordova, actress and Quaz No. 197, on why people go crazy over performers but not, say, firefighters or doctors.

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“I love the idea of Supergirl, which is ‘What if you take all of Superman’s powers, and put them into a volatile, inexperienced, even immature in some ways, person?’ Supergirl has incredible power but lacks the discipline Superman has. Makes for a very interesting character story in my eyes.”

Jake Black, comic book writer and Quaz No. 29, on his love of (yes) Supergirl.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.53.01 AM“It definitely weirds out my close friends and family. My best girl friends joke they hate being in any photo with me because they instantly get followed by 10 strangers. I don’t get bothered by it because I don’t pay attention to it. There’s always going to be some list or ranking of “hottest this” “hottest that,” and it’s both subjective and trivial. At the end of the day, and hopefully a very long career, I want to emulate women like Hannah Storm, Robin Roberts, Suzy Kolber, Wendi Nix.”

Britt McHenry, ESPN report and Quaz No. 183, on being known as “hot.”

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“We are now 1,000 feet above the ocean and tearing butt for St. John’s, Labrador about 250 miles away. The smoke is still coming and the checklist has not found the culprit as it is designed to isolate different electrical systems until the offending one is located. My thoughts are wondering at what point I might have to make the decision to ditch the aircraft. As long as this bad boy is flying I’m heading for St. John’s which finally found us on radar. At least now someone knows where we are. The flight attendants are getting the cabin ready for a ditching and I cannot fathom how they felt looking at the ocean just below them and wondering if we will make a water landing. I was fortunate to be occupied flying the airplane.”

Tom Holt, former Delta pilot and Quaz No. 154, on his closest call.

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“I was very intense and determined, I cared a lot about what I was doing and it showed. Was I a jerk? Well, yes. I’m sure that I was, but like all of us I’m much more than that and I’m not sure many experienced the other (many other) Steves. I certainly didn’t help that and I was very young (how does it go? Young and dumb?) and I thought I had all the answers (or at least most of them), when in fact I didn’t even have most of the questions.”

Steve Steinwedel, former University of Delaware men’s basketball coach and Quaz No. 198, on perceived jerkiness during his Blue Hen days.

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“Marijuana frees my soul. I feel relaxed when smoking and closer to God. The herb is here for us. The seeds are nourishment, hemp oil is clean and good for you, and the U.S. encouraged farmers to grow hemp during the Civil War and World War I.  Hemp is a fantastic fiber and food and a life-sustaining plant. It’s a seed-bearing herb. Marijuana helps cancer patients during chemotherapy, causing them to stomach solid foods that they normally could not eat. It is good for glaucoma, relieving pressure on the eyes. It is good for many mood disorders, like anxiety and bi-polar.”

M.C. White Owl, rapper and Quaz No. 76, on his love of marijuana.

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“The big one for me lately is that I have a chronic fear that I’m wearing the wrong socks. Seriously. We change clothes so many times in the show, that I often get on stage and start a scene without having double-checked, and I have a mini panic attack. It is particularly bad in the group Baptism scene, when everyone on stage is dressed all in white. I am somehow always convinced that my black socks are on with my white suit, and that I will be found out as some kind of a Mormon fraud. Until I take a conspicuous glance down to see that I do indeed have the right socks on. It is such a random issue, but it still freaks me out.”

Scott Barnhardt, actor, “Book of Mormon” star and Quaz No. 18, on his biggest fear during the show.

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“The word ‘blackballed’ has come down the road to me a few times, and I don’t get it. Because I’ve never, ever harmed anyone. I didn’t hurt anyone—it was a stupid, few-seconds, guy, dumb, drinking joke with a few guys. Somebody heard wind of it, and first time in my life I’d ever been in a human resources meeting. To this day, honest to God, I’ll take a slap on the hand. I didn’t throw anyone else under the bus. That’s not the way I operate. But a sophomoric 10-second mistake has completely … the collateral damage it’s done to my life and my family … I’ve lost everything, man. I’ve hit rock bottom.”

Sean Salisbury, former NFL quarterback, ESPN analyst and Quaz No. 42, on losing his job after allegedly sending a penis pic.

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“I actually initially got into all this memory stuff in the summer of 2008 when I was jobless and bored. I’ve always been interested in the mind and after doing a little bit of Googling that summer, I stumbled on the USA Memory Championship website. I couldn’t believe the things the competitors were doing and that they were all saying the same thing: anyone can do it. I took it as a challenge and started trying out the techniques myself. They worked amazingly. Eventually I got a job and couldn’t spend time on it, so I put my training on hiatus. After my grandmother passed away the following summer, I was suddenly very concerned about the future of my own memory. I vowed to try and do everything within my power to never let the same thing happen to me. So I returned to the techniques I had briefly dabbled in the previous year and took them to a whole new level. An obsessive level. I was on a mission. The more I did it, the better I got, and the better I got, the more I wanted to do it. It felt like a super power.”

Nelson Dellis, world memory champion and Quaz No. 59, on becoming a memory expert.

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“It was like losing a family member. I was closest in the group with him. It was surreal and horrible. But I had no way to save him. That was his fate. Eric loved the fans, and he was the kindest to them. He used to write back the fan letters! Even call them, and thank them! Yet he was tortured by KISS as well, emotionally and didn’t always understand the politics of being a huge band. He will always be missed.

Bruce Kulick, former KISS guitarist and Quaz No. 95, on the passing of drummer Eric Carr.

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“The worst day at the ballpark is far better than the best day of working with a bunch of corporate assholes in some boring office. I love seeing my friends at the park; the writers, photographers, media relations folks, security guards, groundskeepers, etc.”

Brad Mangin, baseball photographer and Quaz No. 107, on loving the job.

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“Tina Fey was coming off of SNL and NBC made a development deal with her. I was the No. 2 in the comedy department at NBC at the time. She pitched the idea she wanted to write—a behind-the-scenes of an SNL-type comedy show starring her and we knew she wanted to cast Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin. We were unsure about a behind-the-scenes show but it’s Tina Fey so you gotta try. So she went off to write the script and have her baby. When we got the script we loved the idea of a Tracy Morgan-type tormenting Tina as a “Mary Tyler Moore”-type … there was some debate again about the behind the scenes but we gave it a try. After making the pilot the network testing was terrible and it looked as though it was not going to get on the air—but how do you say no to that package, Lorne Michaels, Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Alec Baldwin and all the talented comedy gems in the supporting roles? So we decided to to make some casting changes and re-shoot some scenes. Year one, out of the blue, the show won its first Emmy for outstanding comedy series.”

Gina Girolamo, television executive and Quaz No.50, on the beginning of 30 Rock.

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“I played in the Cape Cod league and a guy hit a ball in the gap. I slid around the ball to do that cool ‘pop up’ slide-and-throw play. I went right through the fence and got stuck in the wire fence. They had to stop the game to pry my out of the fence.”

Doug Glanville, Major League veteran, ESPN commentator and Quaz No. 69, on his embarrassing baseball moment.

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“You know that kid when you were in school who had a pink Mohawk and smoked in the bathroom in senior hall and everyone kind of just stared at him when he walked down the hall? That’s kind of how I feel when I am surrounded by other kid’s book authors. I used to think they were like, ‘How the hell did he get published? I mean really, where are the cute images and the pastel colors and cute stories? Did he have a 6-year old do the art?’”

Todd Parr, children’s book author and Quaz No. 128, on feelings of insecurity in the book world.

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“There is an allure to those who couple an innate talent with fierce ambition, and while professional athletes represent that, the same can be said of successful doctors, writers, musicians. .. there’s no denying the fact that they exude a warranted confidence that’s downright sexy. Fame, money and celebrity status are obvious attractions, but I also think women want to marry men who are at the top of their game; the desire to be a part of that is intoxicating.”

Wanda Juzang Cooper, ex-wife of former Laker Michael Cooper and Quaz No. 142, on why women are drawn to athletes.

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“G-D cares about every detail that happens in the world and certainly about choices that human beings make. Judaism is about discipline and improving oneself. That is most important. As a Jew you’re not supposed to be eating a ham sandwich. Ham is not a proper energy source for your body and soul. You elevate it by not eating it. Life … the world is a domino affect. Every person is responsible for the choices that he makes by improving himself/herself. He helps the world and greed, corruption, famine, etc—all that gets affected as well. So put that ham sandwich down.”

Dmitriy Salita, Orthodox Jewish boxer and Quaz No. 72, on whether God cares about someone eating a ham sandwich.

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“One night, my dad walked into my room. Sensing my frustration at my lack of songwriting success, he suggested that I write about one of my favorite movies. He told me to close my eyes, imagine the opening scene of The Dark Knight (with the Joker’s henchmen), and to write a whole song about one of those unnamed, faceless characters. And so I did. And I named him Johnny. ‘Johnny’ was written on a piece of tattered loose-leaf paper on the little shelf above my keyboard over the course of about 45 minutes. The interesting thing about songwriting is that some songs happen very quickly and some songs need months—even years—to properly take shape. From my experience, the pathway from one good song to another requires at least two or three shitty songs. When you can’t get your own song out of your head, that’s when you know it works. If you can’t remember the melodies after a day or so, or if you just aren’t feeling it with your whole heart and soul, that’s when you know that it’s simply another stop on the road to another song.”

Rachel Miller, 17-year-old singer and Quaz No. 115, on writing her song, “Johnny.”

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“Don’t be mean: it’s OK for a song to jab lightly at the on-field exploits of the opposing team; it’s not OK to be cruel about it or to draw attention to any off-field issues.”

Josh Kantor, Fenway Park organist and Quaz No. 195, on his approach to song choice.

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“During [the early diagnosis of cancer] my friends from all over the world started sending me emails and calling and sending me good wishes. That outpouring of love and affection, of kindness and sweetness … how can anyone be anything but jovial and uplifted? And it is my basic nature to be happy, hopeful and positive. Just because some of my cells have gone rouge and want to kill me really isn’t enough to put a permanent frown on this normally sickening happy Pollyanna face.”

Kathleen Osgood, cancer sufferer and Quaz No. 38, on living.

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“Never believe a politician when they say ‘God bless you all and God bless the United States of America.’ They say it like a mantra because everyone believes that you have to say it to get elected and re-elected. Maybe some actually believe that God favors countries like he favors sports teams, but smart people I think are just echoing what they think they’re supposed to say as politicians.”

Michael Shermer, founder of Skeptic Magazine and Quaz No. 15, on politicians dropping God in speeches.

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“Once he was talking about Bridge Over Troubled Water. And he was talking about the composition writing of it. And he said, ‘You know the bridge—Sail on, silver girl.’ He said, ‘It actually has nothing to do with the song. I had a girlfriend who was going prematurely gray and I thought it sounded good.’ I thought that was the most fantastic thing I heard. That’s the thing about songwriting—you have so little time to create a world that what he said in essence was, ‘All of the stories have been told. It is the way that you tell the story which is your stamp of authenticity.’ And it’s true.”

Melissa Manchester, singer/songwriter and Quaz No. 193, on taking a class taught by Paul Simon at NYU.

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“The reason why the gay issue has such prominence is because of gay rights groups not evangelical ones. The activism of these groups has been incredible. They have pushed the issue to the forefront of culture and have been extremely aggressive in pursuing their agenda. Of course they have every right to do so but Christians then have every right to state their position as well. What has taken it to another level is gay marriage. Christians define marriage very clearly and when you start redefining it there is going to be a response. It is tempting to just give in and be quiet but Christians are to resist temptation. This does not mean there are not people or groups who have been hateful to gays or that this issue is simple to resolve. But the reason it continues to be talked about is because the media keeps bringing it up. Not Christians.”

Rick McDaniel, pastor and Quaz No. 142, on gays and the church.

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“The highlight of my musical existence would be when I played with Stevie Wonder at Manny’s Music. He came in on a Sunday when I was working, and while another salesman was helping him, I started playing one of his more obscure songs, ‘As if You Read My Mind’ from the ‘Hotter than July’ album. A couple seconds later, I feel this hand on my shoulder … it was Stevie. He leaned over and said, “That’s real good, but you got the left hand all wrong.” He then proceeded to show me the correct syncopation of the left hand notes, after which we played the song together; him on the right, me on the left, while he sang it into my right ear. Heaven.”

Gabriel Aldort, street musician and Quaz No. 39, on his greatest moment as a musician.

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“It’s hard to look at guys who have more in common with professional wrestlers than ballplayers and say to yourself, ‘this guy is just a natural specimen.’ Bullcrap. There are so few bulbous, big-headed, mutants occurring naturally that I can’t, with a straight face, see one squeezed into a baseball uniform and say, ‘Oh, that’s just the way God made him.'”

Dirk Hayhurst, former Major League pitcher and Quaz No. 77, on cheating in baseball.

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“There was nothing weird about him. Not to me. He was a genius and people always seem to trash what they don’t comprehend. Or relate to. In my opinion, when one is that genius and talented, there’s always a lot of envy and jealousy that will follow. He was gifted in so many ways. And I think that, sometimes, people found that threatening. What I think people are missing, even now, is his message. There was a message of love that he left behind. A message of how we can change as people. To be better! To be more compassionate! To be more forgiving! To be more considerate! Just to be better as people. I think that’s what people are missing. His message of true love.”

Tatiana Thumbtzen, female lead of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” video and Quaz No. 90, on the King of Pop.

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“You only control what you control. Every situation is different. What I had in New York was different than what other guys had. I’m not saying worse, but different. And inside that building things were done in ways that you didn’t always see on the outside. I played with great guys, and I wouldn’t change that at all. But as far as the perception—it is out there. I know it is. But I don’t lose any sleep over it.”

Ken O’Brien, former New York Jets quarterback and Quaz No. 191, on being overshadowed by Dan Marino, John Elway and Jim Kelly from the 1983 NFL Draft.

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Fleeting. Short. Brief. Kick their ass, get them out of my head. It’s really good, because if I let it take hold—and I know this, because I’m smart enough to know this—that will be the end. That will be the end of my relationship with my family, it’ll be the end of me. And you know what? I’m not dying today and I’m not dying tomorrow. So fuck you. I don’t have time for this shit.”

Adrian Dessi, Quaz No. 100 and ALS sufferer, one whether he has ‘Why is this happening to me?’ moments.

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“I thought Fred was pretty dreamy! One day he mouthed across the set ‘I love you.’ I couldn’t believe it—I was on cloud nine! Fred Savage just said he loved me! Being young and awkward I said, ‘I love you’ back and then he started laughing and said, ‘I didn’t say I love you … I said ‘olive juice’’ I was mortified!!! To get him back—on the last day that I was shooting I knocked on his dressing room door and said ‘Can I have your autograph?’ He said sure and I said ‘Not you, your little brother Ben,’ and I walked right past him and asked his not-at-all-famous-at-that-time brother for his autograph.”

Kathy Wagner, actress and Quaz No. 16, on the crush she had on Wonder Years star Fred Savage.

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“I have a 12-year-old son who wants to play football in the worst way. I would let him, but unfortunately, my wife won’t. So married men know how that one will turn out. He won’t be playing.”

Adam Schefter, ESPN football analyst and Quaz No. 65, on whether his son is allowed to play tackle football.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.51.03 AM“You know that ‘Kendall Jenner has a pimple’ was trending on Twitter like all day on Saturday?”

Amanda Lucci, social media editor for The Daily Mail and Quaz No. 167, on our celeb-crazed culture.

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“We’re a footnote. Maybe not even a footnote. If you liked us and still like us, we might loom large. But most people don’t know us for anything but No Rain and the bee girl video.  And while I think No Rain is a pretty good song, as far as drumming goes there’s not much to it.”

Glen Graham, former Blind Melon drummer and Quaz No. 24, on the legacy of his old band.

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“A ferociously proud father. A trailblazer. A relentlessly competitive athlete. A kind, generous, courageous man who embraced new friends, cherished old friends and understood our profound responsibility to show humanity to one another. How will I remember Stuart Scott? Every day. Every single day.”

Rob King, senior vice president of ESPN’s Sports Center and Quaz No. 189, on how he’ll remember Stuart Scott.

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“I once heard that music is embracing someone without touching. So it has value right away; you get a hug without having to worry about catching a disease.”

Wayne Wilentz, former Skyy keyboadest and Quaz No. 60, on music’s value.

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“He was, in many ways, a kick to cover. Fresh stories, old stories, screaming quotes, perceptive quotes. A man who has traveled the country giving speeches, doing good deeds (big and small), seldom (never?) paying for a meal. He has been an ambassador for baseball, a blue blood salesman for the Dodgers and a worthy Hall of Famer (whose election I supported in print). However, I also weigh the words you have employed in your question—phony, fraud, deceptive, dishonest—and at this point of his and my careers, let’s just leave it in this context: If you can’t say something nice about a person (which I think I have done) ….”

Ross Newhan, former Los Angeles Times baseball writer and Quaz No. 148, on Tommy Lasorda.

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“Always laugh! They’re kids.”

Amy Fabry, stay-at-home mom and Quaz No. 158, on how to respond when a child farts loudly.

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“I had always believed that character was a huge part of building a team and obtaining J.R. went against everything I believed in. I held several meetings with all our basketball people, including all our coaches, and I printed out hard copies of all J.R.’s previous issues and then read them aloud in each meeting to re-emphasize what we were getting into. For whatever reason (I assume the hangover of getting swept in the playoffs), no one objected to making the move. I even called one of my brothers, Rob, who was with Minnesota and had been with J.R. in his early years … and he said under no circumstances should we get J.R. I shared that with everyone on our staff … but no one voiced an opinion against the trade. The coaches were worried about Steve Smith’s knees going forward and we were told by those we answered to that if J.R. was too big a problem we could waive him. I regret making the deal as we traded Steve Smith for the ‘anti-Steve Smith.’”

Pete Babcock, former Atlanta Hawks general manager and Quaz No. 91, on trading Steve Smith to Portland for J.R. Rider.

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“I think having a name that people recognize brings certain expectations and yes, people tend to prejudge my music prior to listening to it. It almost makes it harder to be taken seriously. By the way, my music isn’t like anything “Osmond” you’ve ever heard. One thing I love about country music is how honest it is. I considered going under the name of Nathan George (my middle name is George). I knew that Osmond would eventually come out and I didn’t want people thinking that I was trying to hide something or that was ashamed of my family. Quite the contrary. I just decided to be who I am.”

Nathan Osmond, country singer from a famous family and Quaz No. 70, on the impact of his last name.

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“TNT’s and half of ESPN’s studio panels (Bill Simmons’ overwhelming success is life’s darkest mystery) will never have to worry about being charged with substance abuse. TNT’s David Levy repeatedly declares, ‘Content is king,’ yet features a peanut gallery (exempting Ernie Johnson) of foolishness. But it sells, so who am I to quibble? Jeff Van Gundy is worth paying attention to, because he’s thoroughly uncensored and offers fresh insights. Hubie is Hubie. Cannot stand the non-stop, counterfeit chatter of Kerr, Miller, Webber and everyone else whose names thankfully escape me at the moment.”

Peter Vecsey, longtime NBA writer and analyst and Quaz No. 144, on modern television coverage of the league.

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“You’ve got to be absolutely ready to handle a lot of pressure. There is an extremely small percentage of people that could actually handle carrying a movie or a TV show. That takes either being born with that IT factor or somehow finding IT along the way. No one can teach you that.”

Conroe Books, actor and Quaz No. 146, on life as a struggling thespian.

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“The joy of opera is the result of singing with your entire body. Because opera is sung without microphones, it is a very physical, athletic, and sensual process: repetitive deep breathing, the contraction and relaxation of muscles, intense mental focus, and an exchange of energy with your audience. Add to that mix the vibrations of live instruments, the luscious harmonies of music, the intrigue of human relationships found in every opera plot, a fabulous frock to wear—and you have something that is downright addictive.”

Marie Te Hapuku, opera singer and Quaz No. 26, on her craft.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.43.41 AM“I believe 100 percent in God’s grace and as undeserved as it is it is a free gift from God. That’s the only explanation I have or even need. Unlike so many other victims of clergy sexual abuse I was always able to separate what was done to me from God’s will  for my life. My being molested was not God’s will and I never thought it was. The free-will of someone else, in this case the man who molested me, was not chosen by God but chosen by Tom. We all have free-will and when we exercise it we can hurt others. Everyone has a choice to sin or not to sin.”

John Lunness, priest and Quaz No. 110, on becoming a priest after being molested by a priest as a child.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.33.27 AM“Before my brain even started working, my body was freaking out: heart beating heavily, stomach doing flip-flops. Because it was so early in the run they hadn’t yet created my understudy costumes, so during that show I had some “just in case” emergency costume fittings in the basement of the theatre to see if Beth’s costumes (more than 20 of them!) fit me. Luckily, they did. I then ran through my lines with a fellow stand-by, and lamented the fact that I had not had a full run-thru rehearsal; nor had I rehearsed any of the lightning-quick costume changes (more than 20 of them!); nor had I sung any of the songs with the band. I still did not know whether or not she’d be well enough to perform the next day.  That night I hardly slept at all. Around 10:30 the next morning I got the phone call that I’d indeed be performing in the matinee that day. The next few hours were surreal. I was super-focused and calm as I walked through the blocking on an empty stage before the matinee with the stage manager (who was wonderfully supportive), and discussed the costume changes with the backstage dresser (who was basically my hero). When fellow castmates asked me how I was feeling, I said that I was purposely *not* getting in touch with my emotions—otherwise I would have been a sobbing heap of fear. So anyway, yes, I was very calm, kind of in a robotic fog. After my opening song I was able to settle in and have some fun, but the whole show was like an out-of-body experience.”

Alison Cimmet, Broadway actress and Quaz No. 47, on being an understudy and learning the star of Baby It’s You! was out sick.

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“You would be surprised. I consulted Rudolf about this question and he was offended that you would doubt his abilities to navigate the globe.”

Pat Barry, professional Santa Claus and Quaz No. 184, on the plausibility of the Rudolph saga.

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“I remember vividly the night he passed. My grandmother woke me up out of my sleep and proceeded to tell me that he had passed away. I went downstairs with her to my mother who was staring at the TV crying. It felt as if everyone was looking to me for a reaction. So I gave them one. I cried. The weird thing is, I only cried because I knew that was what everyone else was doing and so it seemed appropriate. I was extremely saddened, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a moment to grieve. Everyone else was so devastated, that it kind of paralyzed me.”

Aaron Crump, Hank Gathers’ son and Quaz No. 186, on learning of the death of his father. Aaron was 6 at the time.

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“I am usually in the moment; in the song. The minute I am not is the minute I give up music.”

Bill Janovitz, Buffalo Tom lead singer and Quaz No. 172, on what he thinks while performing.

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“I remember that a nurse reached for my hand to take my pulse and I reached for her hand and she held it all night long until the sun came up. Amazingly, 14 years later, when I told the hospital that I always wanted to thank her, someone in the HR department told me she lived nearby. I looked in old phone books and found the address and went to her house. She and her three daughters were at the door, and I had just had my hand reconstructed. I told her why I was there and that, instead of getting angry at the old man who hit me (and who never apologized to me) I chose to think about her. She reached for my hand and I remembered her touch. It was an incredible feeling.”

Mike Sharp, competitive runner and cyclist, accident victim and Quaz No. 37, on nearly dying.

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“There were days and weeks when I never even thought about only having one hand. It never entered my experience. Then there were other periods where it was right up front and in my face. Maybe it was a tease or taunt at a playground; maybe a coach trying to exploit something.”

Jim Abbott, former Major League pitcher and Quaz No. 46, on his relationship with his one hand.

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“Before Ryan left for Dallas, I told him point blank—’If you cheat on me, I’ll find out. When I do, I will walk away and never look back. It would just mean we weren’t meant to be together.  You might be able to find someone comparable to me, but you won’t find anyone much better.  So if you think it’s worth it, you go right on ahead.'”

Dawn Neufeld, attorney, wife of former NFL player Ryan Neufeld and Quaz No. 74, on infidelity in sports.

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“A great one is one that the parents want to sing too. It’s also a song that comes to mind throughout the day in such a way that it feels more like part of a movie soundtrack to life and less like just another catchy song.  It’s also a song that has multiple layers of meanings but is still really easy to learn and sing – without feeling like you’ve already heard it a hundred times before.”

Laurie Berkner, children’s singer and Quaz No. 178, on the difference between a meh kiddie song and a great one.

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“Did the great/legendary artists of the 1980s & ’90s all disappear? Or are we just programmed to believe so? Because the real emcees/pop singers just get better with time. The entertainment industry sets the rules on age and trends and, therefore, that becomes the popular norm. But never let anyone tell you that you’re too old for something. And as long as I have something to say, I will say it.”

Skee-Lo, rapper and Quaz No. 88, on staying relevant with age.

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“My theory is that he enjoyed having the hammer, that he was so important that most everyone had to do what he wanted all the time. I think one of my favorite stories was when his ‘personal trainer,’ Harvey Shields, was telling reporters about his résumé, how Harvey had trained Olympic athletes and made others into elite athletes. Suddenly, Bonds walked into the clubhouse and barked, ‘Harvey! Go get me a bottle of water.’ Suddenly, Harvey went from talking about what an elite trainer he was, to scrambling through the clubhouse to fetch Bonds his bottle of water. And this was one of Barry’s guys. He just seemed enjoying humiliating people. Why? Only he knows. But he always seemed like a very lonely individual, someone who didn’t have any real friends.”

Pedro Gomez, ESPN reporter and Quaz No. 194, on covering Barry Bonds.

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“It’s really really, really, really, cool looking. It says fuck you, I know it’s bad for my voice, but I don’t give a shit ’cause I look cool. Rock is 90 percent visual.”

Brian Vander Ark, Verve Pipe lead singer and Quaz No. 141, on why singers smoke.

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“Hope and change? We lived in the most amazing country in the history of the world, so what was it people wanted to change? It turns out that the dreams of Obama’s father were of a creating a nightmare in America; since we have so much more than other people in the world, he must level it to the third-world countries so that we too will suffer higher unemployment, a shocking number of people on welfare and food stamps, a government takeover of banking, insurance, the auto industry, etc. I don’t like any of this, and by extension, I don’t like the person at the top, no matter what he/she is.”

Linda Ensor, Tea Party activist and Quaz No. 48, on Barack Obama.

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“When I had the large implants I used to always liken them to wearing a superhero costume. I felt invincible. I think we all feel that when something gives us a boost of confidence. You get caught up in the extra attention (and, in my case, the spotlight) and I don’t think I was ready for the responsibility that came from that. I think it was 2008 when I realized that as much as they had served their purpose in my discovery, my implants really were more of a hindrance than a help. They were a distraction of the worst kind and brought the wrong kind of attention. Believe me when I say, there is such a thing.”

Jenn Sterger, actress and Quaz No. 98, on her breasts.

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“How does a person come to terms with that? I don’t think you ever do. It was too close for me to be forever at peace with not winning a medal. I have always been a realist though and have realized there was nothing I could do. I needed to move forward. I know I gave it my everything and had no regrets. Also, knowing that I had already won three gold medals in previous Olympics did help.”

— Lenny Krayzelburg, Olympic swimmer and Quaz No. 51, on missing out on a medal in the 100 meters by 2/100 of a second in the 2004 Athens Games.

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“Gratitude. My first dog, Atticus, taught me and gave me what I had not received as a child—unconditional love and patience and support.”

Lisa Edwards, professional dog trainer and Quaz No. 79, on what canines offer her that people don’t.

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“You research every possible thing you can think of. I remember going through every game, not to talk about the games, but to find the ‘little things.’ Maybe in one game you see that he shoved, say, Patrick Ewing. Well, you don’t care about the shove. You care about what he thinks about Patrick Ewing. You get him to riff on that. You ask if he watched Ewing growing up and even if he says no, you ask whom he did watch. You use the little things to get to the big things. You report the hell out of it and leave no stone unturned because—as you know—it is up to you to turn the stones.”

Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated writer and Quaz No. 58, on the rigors of researching a biography of a 23-year-old Shaquille O’Neal—when he’s being of little help.

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“I didn’t know Jeffrey Dahmer the serial killer. I only knew Jeff, the weird, troubled kid who I went to school with. I wouldn’t say the book is infused with any kind of empathy toward him. I state it very clearly that once he starts to kill, which occurred mere weeks after our friendship ended, that he richly deserved his brutal end.”

John Backderf, cartoonist, former Jeffrey Dahmer classmate and Quaz No. 85, on his feelings for the killer.

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“More black parents, leaders and others need to have ‘The Talk’ with more young black men. Admittedly this would be like telling the victims to be more careful—and I recognize my peril here, but this is far from blaming the victim (as often happens in cases like this and in rape and domestic violence cases). My only point here is that I want these young brothers to “choose life” over death by ‘managing’ and ‘de-pressurizing’ these encounters. Obviously, this will sound like some out-of-date, old Tom talking, but plenty of black men my age and older have lived long, proud (enough) lives by not “taking the bait,”  whether wittingly or unwittingly dangled before them, from policemen and others. In other words, what if Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown had been taught how—and why—Perry Wallace exercised restraint and control in the face of virulent racism and handled his sense of anger and outrage another way—such as pursuing social change constructively and developing himself as a person? The answer, I believe, is clear.”

Perry Wallace, the SEC’s first African-American basketball player and Quaz No. 182, on having “The Talk” with young black men.

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“No! Do you ever think you are sick of words?”

Ron Shaich, Panera founder and Quaz No. 97, on whether he ever thinks to himself, “I am so sick of bread.”

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“More flooding is going to be the main impact to humans and ecosystems along the coast. Sea level is rising now on average by more than an inch per decade and the rate is increasing. It doesn’t sound like much but by the end of this century we are looking at an additional few feet, which will have a big effect, especially on low-lying areas. Direct effects of warming are also a concern. If we continue the current trend in greenhouse gas emissions, a coastal region like the New York City Tri-State area will experience summers by the end of this century similar to summers now in southern South Carolina. That’s a huge change for people and ecosystems to handle.”

Raymond Najjar, Penn State professor of oceanography and Quaz No. 165, on the impact of climate change on coastal regions.

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“The answer is yes, but it’s complicated. Do I feel like getting all my gear and ripping 21 turns at the nearest mountain with barely any snow? Not particularly. The fact is after having spent so much time in the Rockies and Europe, your standards do change.”

Ryan Semple, Canadian Olympic skier and Quaz No. 89, on whether he can ski for fun.

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“It doesn’t insult me that you’re bored. Believe me, I understand. You’re sitting there in a seat, watching something you’re not overly familiar with. But it can be incredibly exciting, and if you know somebody who’s in the ballet and who has a good role, and you can point to the stage and say, ‘I know that person!’—it’s terrific. There are times when I find ballet to be boring. But I go because you learn, and you experience, and why would anyone turn that down?”

Craig Salstein, American Ballet Theatre soloist and Quaz No. 31, on ballet boring me.

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“I was singing the anthem in Atlanta for the Thrashers because the Canadiens were in town and I though I would sing the Canadian anthem both in French and English. I started in French and then just forgot the words, so I inserted the words, Pepe Le peu into the phrase and then went into the English part. I actually hoped the ice would open and I could just disappear into Valhalla or wherever it is that mortified singers go.”

Jennifer Hanson, singer and Quaz No. 187, on her most humiliating moment.

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“The Denver Broncos drafted me in 1999 after they won two Super Bowls. John Elway must have seen me coming and decided to retire.”

Lennie Friedman, longtime NFL offensive lineman and Quaz No. 40, on the start of his career.

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“The attacks happened as I was driving into work, and for the first half of the day everyone was trying to figure out what we were going to do, and what we should do. Eventually we decided to go on and report the stories and how it impacted our genre, sports. I think that was the right thing to do.  Bob Ley and I actually spent that entire week doing shows together. We still talk about it quite a bit.”

Trey Wingo, ESPN anchor and Quaz No. 112, on the aftermath of 9/11.

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“Every day we shot brought new revelation and surprise, like we were living inside a Dickens novel or something. But I would have been insane to think a three hour documentary on two young basketball players no ever heard of would ever be huge. Still, late in the post process, I do recall coming home at like 4 am after a graveyard editing shift and just sitting in my car unexpectedly crying because I knew I’d been privileged to bear witness to something rare and wonderful.”

Steve James, “Hoop Dreams” director and Quaz No. 68, on the creation of the landmark film.

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“I don’t like the movie at all. The whole premise is that this huge rock star is hiding from the world. Doing construction. And the music comes back, and his picture is everywhere, and he has a little mustache and nobody knows it’s him. Like Clark Kent put on glasses and no one knew he was Superman. Ridiculous.

Matthew Laurance, actor and Quaz No. 180, on Eddie and the Cruisers: II: Eddie Lives!

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“I think, really, what saves me is that I just don’t care that much about sports. Don’t get me wrong. I like sports a lot. I like playing them more than anything else. But I really don’t care much about whether any particular team wins or loses, except for hockey, which I care about quite a bit. That generally means that I don’t care much about the things that a lot of sports guys care about, so I don’t ask the same questions.”

Chris Jones, sportswriter and Quaz No. 19, on avoiding clichéd interviews.

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“There is no such thing as gay. ‘Gay’ is a popular cultural mythology. Except in very rare medical cases, our bodies have been designed for the opposite sex. This means everyone is designed for heterosexuality. But some heterosexuals have a homosexual problem. Given the fact that you are a heterosexual with a homosexual problem, it’s your choice if you want to participate in the popular cultural myth that you are ‘gay.’ If that’s your wish, I wouldn’t interfere with your lifestyle, nor would I be disrespectful of your right to your own view.  But here, I would remind people who disagree with what I say: ‘Diversity includes me.'”

Joseph Nicolosi, gay conversion practitioner and Quaz No. 168, on homosexuality.

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“I would not encourage my child to become a television or film actress. In terms of modeling, let’s just say I would rather spend the day re-taking the bar exam than having updated headshots taken. Having your picture taken is fun for about five minutes. Then it is mind-numbing and uncomfortable. Your daughter could be an astrophysicist or a venture capitalist—why would she want to waste her time sitting still for a living?”

Crystal McKeller, former child actor and Quaz No. 21, on whether my daughter should become an actress or model.

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“To outsiders, Detroit is portrayed as decaying. The media loves to show images of the bad parts and crumbling buildings, but never seems to shine a light on all the great things happening. I work downtown everyday, and everyday I discover something new and amazing, and I brag to everyone I know about how lucky I am to be a part of the revitalization of a great American City.”

Brittany Jenell, Detroit Pride cheerleader and Quaz No. 119, on her city’s image.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.45.50 AM“The love of my life was dying right in front of me and I couldn’t stop this from happening. I knew that if I thought too much I would crumble, and Jen needed me to stay strong. Looking back, the photographs were an escape from cancer. That is strange since I was escaping into the same thing I was escaping from. But our life was so serious and constantly “on” and I needed something that wasn’t complete cancer. I could get lost in lightroom or something camera related and sort of give myself a break.”

Angelo Merendino, photographer and Quaz No. 126, on chronicling his wife’s death from cancer.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.38.13 AM“I think so. The economics just don’t make sense any more. In fact, if you had gone to the newspaper publishers of America 20 years ago and said, “I have a great new business model for you—no paper, no ink, no trucks, no newsstands, no pressman’s union, no mailer’s union,” they all would have said “I want it NOW!” Well, now they’ve got it.”

Daniel Okrent, legendary journalist and Quaz No. 71, on whether print newspapers are dead.

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“When it comes down to it 26.2 miles is going to hurt no matter how you slice it! Whether you are out there for two hours or 10 it’s a lot for the body to go through. Marathons are are the great equalizers in that sense because everyone hurts when they cross the line. They create a sense of camaraderie because it feels like you went into battle with every other person out there and whether or not you defeated the 26.2 mile beast, you attempted it and felt its wrath. The 100-mile weeks definitely help me finish faster but both times when I crossed the finish line I was hurting.”

Amy Hastings, Olympic distance runner and Quaz No. 62, on the pain of the long run.

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“Dr. King’s right-hand man, Bayard Rustin, was openly gay. Rustin was the person who introduced Dr. King to the teachings of Gandhi and was the main organizer of the transformative march on Washington. So if the reverend who happened to be the face of the movement loved a gay man as his brother, and if the movement is greatly indebted to that love and friendship between the two, then why do we as a community feel comfortable dishonoring the memory of that bond? Because at the end of the day, that’s what using the Bible to justify ostracizing gay people is doing—dishonoring the work King and Rustin did together so that we could have freedom today.”

L.Z. Granderson, openly gay sportswriter and Quaz No. 49, on the complicated gay-black dichotomy.

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“I was 9 and 10 when Little Giants happened, and I really didn’t care if I was typecast. I didn’t even know what that word meant back then. When you look back at it, yeah, it was probably a shitty thing to do, but it happens. Nobody holds a gun to anyone’s head when they offer them a role, as far as I’m aware.”

Mike Zwiener, former child actor and Quaz No. 117, on being cast as the “fat kid” in Little Giants.

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“From the second the news started to break I knew with 100-percent certainty it was bullshit. I knew a bunch of educated young men … boys brought up in New Jersey, Connecticut … and there was no way they would gang rape a woman. Would they do a ton of other questionable, dumb stuff? Oh, yeah. Absolutely. But not that. I knew the truth would come out eventually.”

Mark Millon, Lacrosse Hall of Famer and Quaz No. 181, on why he believed the Duke lacrosse rap accusations were untrue.

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“Dead bird, the turd was on the bottom.”

Brooke Bennett, Olympic swimmer and Quaz No. 114, on the grossest thing she’s seen in a pool.

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“I’ve looked at the arguments from both sides and I am unconcerned. If global warming troubles you so much, by some shorts and T-shirts and keep the sun off your head. I’d hate to see the rest of your brain cells melt.”

Dan Riehl, conservative blogger and Quaz No. 23, on being a climate change doubter.

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“My first memory is of being sexually abused by my exploiter in the back of a relative’s bar. I was pre-verbal, but I just remember feeling “shattered” afterward. The rest of the world was acting like nothing had happened but my world had changed forever. I also  remember years of being taken out to our garage in the middle of the night where I was placed in the mechanic’s well under a car in our garage. I was covered with an oily blanket and men paid to have sex with me. My exploiter drugged me so I didn’t fight back. The exploitation continued in the garage as well as at truck stops and warehouse parties. I was told only “special” little girls got to have sex and go to ‘adult’ parties. So I just thought this was normal, even though I knew in my gut that something was off.”

Kate Price, child sex trafficking victim and Quaz No. 175, on living a nightmare.

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“My last day was the last day of a series in Los Angeles. I caught a bullpen for Kevin Brown during batting practice and felt something pop in my knee. I finished up the pen but knew exactly what happened. My eyes welled up as I looked up into the sky then out onto the beauty of Dodger Stadium. I walked into the clubhouse and told the trainer what happened. I told him, ‘I’m done. Please make arrangements for me to go home.’ He wasn’t happy with me. He even told people later that I ‘gave up’ and didn’t try. I guess I can see his perspective. My perspective was that my time had come and gone. It was time for me to step aside so that the next guy could have a chance. I was ready to get to know my wife again, to be an everyday dad to my 1-month-old newborn and to dive into the next adventure that was to come my way.”

Brian Johnson, longtime Major League catcher, Giants scout and Quaz No. 30, on when he knew his career was done.

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“When I first told my mom that I went to a nudist resort, she was embarrassed for me. It wasn’t the idea of being surrounded by naked people, it was the idea that I didn’t have a bone in my body that I felt I should be ashamed of. My mom actually still reminds me of my words to her when I told her about going to a nudist resort: ‘Mom, you’re more uncomfortable in my body than I am.”’That’s the thing though—this is my body, and I’d rather be happy in my skin than not. Sure, there are things I’d like to change (hello, perky tits that I can rest a plate on and a more round ass …), but those aren’t things that I particularly care enough about to rush out and get changed with surgery.”

— Sydney Screams full-figured fetish model and Quaz No. 151, on her weight.

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“One that stands out still brings a chuckle, mostly because I am still so embarrassed.Taking for granted my usual surroundings in the restroom, it took me a moment to notice there was something a little different. In the corner was a snake coiled with its head pointed right in my direction. Taking no time to investigate, I ran into the crowded hall with my pants still at my knees. While I am all for being the center of attention, this isn’t what I usually had in mind.”

Laura Emberton Owens, former secretary of education for the state of Kentucky and Quaz No. 102, on her most embarrassing moment as a teacher.

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“People absolutely do assume I am gay because of what I do. It doesnʼt bother me at all though because I do the same thing really. On the first day of rehearsal when meeting the cast, its natural to play the game in your head of Whoʼs Straight and Who’s Gay. I have always been comfortable around the gay community … although differentiating between a gay and straight community seems a little weird. In theatre, as cliche as it is, you truly are a part of one big community. That’s the beauty of our business compared to the local law office I think … the openness of all involved and the ability to adapt to all walks of life in an easier, more comfortable way.”

Chris Delcroix, actor and Quaz No. 27, on being a straight man in musical theater.

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“Testing was a joke but I don’t think there is anything we can do about it now. I understand the speculation with some players, the indicators that a player probably used PEDs. But I also believe that it is unfair to speculate publicly without hard evidence. I believe most guys prior to Jose Canseco speaking out who used got away with it. During the bulk of my Major League time prior to real testing, 1995-2003, I believe a lot of guys probably used. I knew it was going on, considered it myself but ultimately didn’t, but I think I was ignorant to how much it was really happening.”

C.J. Nitkowski, Major League pitcher and Quaz No. 73, on PEDs in the game.

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“There were bottles of booze in plain view on people’s desks and cigarettes in all 67 ashtrays on the conference room table during editorial meetings; there was a fair amount of fornicatin’ between members of the staff, and everybody knew who was screwing whom; you could buy a bag of really good shit, man, from the mail boy; on the weekends there was a fridge full of cans of Bud, just serve yourself; there was a bookie who arrived on the floor every Monday to collect debts; there was a poker game—a lot of seven-card high-low, a terrible game—in the TV room that started around nine Sunday night and often ended at dawn Monday that essentially financed Virginia’s and my social life; etc. For the younger staffers especially—the ones who didn’t have kids, who lived in Manhattan—the Thursday-to-Monday work week meant that SIers were sort of forced to become close friends, often best friends. The quality of the writing and photography was always a matter of serious discussion, and there was a clear, if unofficial, hierarchy among the writers and photographs; when I came to the magazine people bowed to writers like Jack Olsen and shooters like John Zimmerman, and throughout my time that sort of admiration for our fellows who were the best persisted. That says a lot about the general seriousness of the enterprise.”

Peter Carry, former Sports Illustrated executive editor and Quaz No. 170, on life at the magazine during its heyday.

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“The record industry is a brutal, cold-hearted bitch of a business at times so at this point we are honestly just very grateful to still play rock and roll and have people dig what we play. We had our shot. No regrets.”

Rick Arzt, Love Seed Mama Jump lead singer and Quaz No. 41, on sort of making it big.

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“I probably spend 70 percent thinking time to 30 percent writing. I used to write after my kids went to bed, but two of them are teenagers now and frequently go to bed after I do, so I’ve taken to starting at 6 am before everyone else gets up. I try to write 5,000 words a week, in a mixture of bed, coffee shop (although other people talking makes me really crabby) and my little office, above a hairdresser.”

Jojo Moyes, author and Quaz No. 161, on her process.

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“Winning was why I was there. You spend your entire life trying to get to the Majors and you’re just satisfied with numbers and money? That sucks. If you win and are on a winning team those things naturally come with it. I know as a fan of other sports I watch only to see my team win.”

Steve Trachsel, former Major League pitcher and Quaz No. 105, on whether he was motivated by money or team success.

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“Great quarterbacks have the ability to manage split-second decisions in their heads like nobody else. They have to be risk takers, but conservative. They have to have an arm to throw rockets, deep outs, sidearm screens, finesse change-ups on shallow crosses. A great quarterback has a timer in his head to get rid of the ball. He has to be mobile enough to escape the rush. He has to have the ability to lead men. He doesn’t have to be Braveheart, but a guy who men will follow. You must trust him. He has to manage his teammates. That’s not too much to ask, is it?”

Marc Boerigter, former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver and Quaz No. 174, on what makes a great NFL quarterback.

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“I know exactly what you mean. Everybody raves about how beautiful, how pretty, how gorgeous Maureen is—and I do so want them to appreciate the Maureen that I have come to know. Her work ethic, her stamina, the odds  even “pretty people” have to battle. What amazes me is that the website visitors can see Maureen’s aging in recent photos—and yet to them she is forever beautiful.”

June Beck, operator of a tribute website to actress Maureen O’Hara and Quaz No. 134, and the sadness of watching physical beauty fade with age.

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“Honestly—it rocked. It never got old to hear our songs on the radio! We’d turn it up and blast it every time it came on! The feeling, more than anything, was pride. Just pure awesomeness. It smacked me right across the face, and I enjoyed that. As for a singular moment—there were many. Your first tour bus, your first time on TRL, the first time you make your tour manager go get you tampons in the middle of the night ‘cuz you can!’ Hanson at my Sweet 16 birthday party—and then it was aired on MTV News. Jay Leno, fans knowing my dogs’ name. But the one that sticks out the most is when we premiered ‘This is Me’ in the middle of Time Square  and no one had done that before. It was epic.”

Ashley Poole, former member of the pop group Dream and Quaz No. 53, on what it felt like to be a superstar at age 16.

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“Could Bill Parcells, Tom Landry and Chuck Noll have won with the pieces I had? The direct answer is no! The sports media put to much emphasis on just win and losses without knowing the environment you coach in, the talent level of the players you have, the morale in the program and the obstacles you have to overcome.”

Jim Colletto, former football coach and Quaz No. 87, on never having a winning record in 11 college seasons.

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“Synchronized swimming consists of a lot of physical strength and endurance, but also combines other aspects that one could argue would be an advantage to women, such as; flexibility or floatability.  I believe that people’s energy would be better spent not worrying about their own prejudice and misconceptions, but rather be proactive in creating an atmosphere for the growth of the sport.”

Bill May, former competitive synchronized swimmer and Quaz No. 169, or why men should be allowed to participate in his sport.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.49.03 AM“White people have always felt comfortable using the word – power and privilege will do that.  Obviously the history of the word, and its relationship to slavery, Jim Crow, and the normalization of racial terror demonstrate a history of comfort using the word.  Clearly the history of minstrelsy, of blackface, of white mocking of blackness that exists in the white imagination, shows that this is nothing new.”

— Professor David Leonard, Quaz No. 150, on whites comfortable using the n-word.

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“I think when I started and somebody yelled, “Jew, get off!” That wasn’t a good day.”

Lenny Marcus, comedian and Quaz No. 130, on his lowest moment on stage.

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“I’m sober now, and have been sober for a number of years. And so I lived many years as an active alcoholic and addict. And I can tell you when you first start doing drugs, booze, whatever—for those of us who are addicts, it worked really, really well. It’s your medicine. But when it stops working … there’s a term in heroine addictions, ‘Chasing the dragon.’ And basically it’s chasing that thing you feel the first time you do it. Or even the first line of the evening. The first bump of coke and that first drink—it’s like the perfect buzz. And you spend the rest of the night chasing that feeling to get it back. And it just gets worse and worse and worse and worse, and you never get it back, but you think that you might. And the next thing you know the sun’s coming up and you want to kill yourself.”

Kay Hanley, singer and Quaz No. 121, on her past drug problems.

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“There is fear. It’s a dangerous sport. But it’s that fear that keeps you on your toes. You know if you mess up it’s gonna hurt. Your mind is pretty clear because it’s a reaction spot, making every move the bulls makes. It’s exciting, but also a thinking game. The bull is thinking how to bring you down and you are thinking how to stay up. It’s an eight-second fight but the whistle don’t make the bull stop.”

Cord McCoy, rodeo star and Quaz No. 44, on what he’s feeling when he mounts a bull.

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“Reggie can be a little rough sometimes with people but he is an amazing person in more ways than not, and has had an amazing life and career. People should focus on that and not get caught up in the 30 seconds of meeting a player and hoping it was warm and fuzzy. Reggie is incredibly smart—he knows more about the history of baseball than almost anyone I have met. And he’s donated a bunch of money and time to the two group homes I support in White Plains. Well, I’m biased—I love the guy. But the fact is that he’s done too many great things for them to be outweighed by some isolated incidents that have people perceiving him negatively.”

Brandon Steiner, memorabilia dealer and Quaz No. 67, on dealing with Reggie Jackson.

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“My grandmother is 87-years old. She lives in my old room at my parents’ house and my mother’s full-time job is taking care of her. If my nana, a kind and loving woman, was on live television for an hour every day, people who work with her might say she’s “not so dedicated to the show.” And they would have every right to say that because they have to be on set hours before her, and they have to help her when she forgets things, and it’s their job to make sure she doesn’t look bad. But at the end of the day, she’s 80-FUCKING-7, and the fact that she got out of bed and put on real shoes is downright commendable. Now imagine my grandmother is a television legend who has earned the right to do whatever she damn well pleases, and you’ll see how it’s hard to actually complain about working with Regis Philbin.”

Katie Nolan, Fox Sports personality and Quaz No. 163, on having worked on Crowd Goes Wild with Regis Philbin.

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“A couple years ago I played with Katharine McPhee at the Greek Theatre here in L.A. I had to pack up my gear and leave right away to get to a poorly booked Reigning Monarchs show at this little dump on the Sunset Strip. There was a lot of bad information and I arrived to find out that we were only getting a 10-minute set. It almost broke Reigning Monarchsup the band. That stands out for going from the high to the low within a couple of hours.”

Michael Eisenstein, guitarist and Quaz No. 131, on his low moment in music.

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“I may have a pancake video with 22 million views on YouTube, but I had to work, tour, and grind it out for 12 years before any of this happened. And I have had a cult-like fan base for several years too. I think the only way to truly judge an artist is by their longevity. You can make $20 million in three months and burn out before you even get hot. Or you can make $20 million over 20 years, and have a comfortable, successful career with longevity and respect. If you take short cuts, you get cut short.”

Mac Lethal, rapper and Quaz No. 43, on the importance of his song having millions of YouTube views.

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“It is hard to develop the same love for these players when they are only here for one year. And yes, I wish the rules would be changed to keep the kids in school for at least two years but the bottom line is that college basketball has been a farm system for the NBA for many, many years. These kids all dream of playing in the NBA, I did as well (though my dream turned out to be not very realistic), and to keep them in college one minute longer than they need to be is dangerous to their careers. On one hand I know that is not what colleges and universities are ultimately all about but on the other hand it is. We encourage our kids to go to college not so that they can get an education but so that they can get a good job once they get their degree and most often a ‘good’ job means a high paying job. What is better than a job where you play a game and get paid millions of dollars to do so.”

Cameron Mills, former Kentucky basketball player, minister and Quaz No. 45, on the Wildcats’ endless supply of one-and-done players.

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“I had a couple of very close friends die before their 24th birthday. I’ve also spent the last 20 years doing a lot of work to abolish the death penalty and gotten to know a lot of people who live on death row and a lot of the victims’ families who are against capital punishment. In other words I’ve been around some death, so I’m just grateful for the years I’ve had because a lot of folks have had far less.”

Dave Zirin, journalist and Quaz No. 155, on fearing death.

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“It’s hard to get traded. You get into a groove and you’re accustomed to everything and people … teammates. And all of a sudden it’s, ‘Hey, pack your shit and leave. Right now.’ And all of a sudden it finally sets in and you go, ‘Holy shit, what just happened?’”

Kevin Mench, former Major League outfielder and Quaz No. 96, on being traded.

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“Having seen how the sausage is made, I have to say being a beat writer for a Major League team looks to me as the worst job in the world. You’re away from your family just as much as the players are. I had asked one writer right before spring training if he was happy to get to Port St. Lucie and the warm Florida weather. He told he hated it because he’d be down there for more than a month without ever getting home. I said to him, ‘You have to get some off days. Can’t you fly up and for a few days and go back?’ He looked at me and said, ‘How much fucking money you think I make?’”

Stephen Keane, New York Mets blogger and Quaz No. 111, on what he thinks of the reporters covering the Mets.

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“No one wants to talk about what their favorite iPod song is after they just got eliminated from the playoffs.”

Lindsay McCormack, TV sports personality and Quaz No. 57, on the mistake make by myriad television reporters.

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“Thurman had his rough edges and could leave a lot of people wishing for more, but he was a player’s player; teammates loved him and of course, the fans connected with him from a distance. He could be grumpy, profane, and thoughtless at times, but he had his soft side, especially with his family. Sometimes the ‘anti-Semitic’ came from his style—like the Yankees assistant trainer, Barry Weinberg—he kept calling him Goldberg or Greenstein or Weingold, but it was just the way he would needle someone. That night he’d send over drinks to his table in a restaurant and when Barry looked over to say thanks, Thurman would give him the finger. Do you see how the ‘anti-Semitic’ thing started, but at the same time, wasn’t really the case.”

Marty Appel, former New York Yankees PR director and Quaz No. 78, on Thurman Munson and his rep as an anti-Semite.

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“The process was tedious, to say the least. I narrowed down their catalog to around 10 songs, and began replaying all of the individual instruments on my keyboard. I used different sounds than in the originals for each part, and created entirely new drum tracks to modernize the songs. When that was finished, I went to work figuring out vocal tracks that would sound great on each song, which helped narrow it down to the five tracks that I released.”

Scott Melker, DJ and Quaz No. 162, on his merging of Hall and Oates and hip-hop.

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“ESPN is dogshit. You know that. They’re a TV company and their job is to present TV, and they don’t even do that particularly well. They’re still in the business of overbranding themselves and labeling every segment within an inch of its life. I’m one of the old fogies who remembers the pre-Disney days and knows how good it used to be.”

Drew Magary, writer and Quaz No. 63, on ESPN.

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“The original production is so cold and square, that I wasn’t precious about it. And once I actually listened to the lyrics it was a no-brainer to take it in a completely acoustic, dark direction. I kind of read into it like that song ‘I’m not in love.’ Creepy and sad. I think that’s the ONLY way to cover a song. You must make it completely your own. Change the production, the harmonic approach, even the time signature! Otherwise why bother?”

Jonatha Brooke, singer and Quaz No. 106, on her cover of the Alan Parsons Project’s “Eye in the Sky.”

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“Al’s appearance had come after the Dodgers’ opening game of the 1987 season at the Houston Astrodome. Dodger owner Peter O’Malley was in Houston for the series. Two days later Peter called me before boarding a flight with Al to return to Los Angeles. ‘Fred, ‘ he said, ‘you have to take this job. I have asked Al to resign and I need you to take this job. Another call came in almost immediately. It was Al. ‘I wish you could have been with me the other night before I went on the show,’ Al said. I told Al that I only wished that I knew he was going to be on the show because I would have helped him with guidance in any  way that I could. Al’s life and my life had changed but our friendship continued.”

Fred Claire, former Dodgers GM and Quaz No. 80, on taking the job following Al Campanis’ Nightline remarks on race and baseball.

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“When I first moved to L.A. hoping to do acting and comedy, a book I read talked about owning who you are, rather than trying to fit into an idea of what you think people want. One of the examples of a unique person who broke the mold and defied expectations of Hollywood stardom was Bobcat Goldthwait. (It’s a very dated reference now, but people over 30 will probably remember him.) There was never a demand for someone like him, or, say, Pee-wee Herman, but he proved to be a unique and fresh comedian that people embraced for his weirdness. I’ve remembered that ever since and tried to be uniquely me throughout my career, rather than attempting to fit a mold of what’s expected for females in the sports industry.”

Sarah Spain, ESPN Chicago personality and Quaz No. 103, on making it in the business.

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“I slid across the plate and a high throw came in from right field and the catcher reached off balanced and landed on my neck and shoulders while I was getting up. I just kind of laid there and couldn’t move. No feelings whatsoever. I did not feel any pain—it was more of a lack of motion, After a trip to the hospital, my neck never hurt, but everything else did. After a while I was being treated for shoulder, arm and back issues. I didn’t come back right away, but after the season I was looked at and found they found three crushed vertebrae and a fractured spinal cord. Surgery, the halo and a tough-love father made me want to get stronger.”

Ron Kittle, former Major League slugger and Quaz No. 125, on breaking his neck in his first-ever minor league game.

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“Working-class people just aren’t that different—period. No matter what the ethnicity. There are these invisible lines placed between the different races, but lower-middle class and down, and people are pretty much the same. The same mindsets. Their lives are pretty stressful. They deal with what they deal with on a day-to-day basis, and then when they cut loose they wanna have a good time. That’s something I knew at a young age.”

Bubba Sparxxx, rapper and Quaz No. 157, on the merging of country and rap audiences.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.44.05 AM“I am more afraid that something is going to happen to one of my children. When I hear sirens and my kids aren’t home, I have to check-in. I do my best not to be protective and for them to live their lives. When Elise and Lexa got their licensees, I was scared to death. Let’s put it this way—I sleep well when everyone is home.”

Lynn Riordan, Quaz No. 113 (who lost her son Matthew in a car accident), on carrying on after tragedy.

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“I hate red carpets. I. HATE. RED. CARPETS.  I did a few while at Access Hollywood. But I tried to have as much fun as possible. Covering the Country Music Awards in Nashville, I asked as many non-fashion questions as possible. I’m with you … people fake laughing at unfunny jokes while kissing celebrity booty is not entertaining.”

Michele Beadle, SportsNation star and Quaz No. 149, on the red carpet.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.42.51 AM“A talented athlete who is motivated is tough to beat. There are many who are talented who rely on their talent and never reach their potential. The person has to be driven to attain the very top level. The person also has to be resilient to injury and illness. I think some of it is genetic, some of it is training intelligence, and some of it is luck. The person has to be patient. The runner has to develop a sense of training and racing. The athlete also has to have help, developing a training program and receiving support to be able to live, work, and train all at once. I do not think there is a way for everyone to get to the top just by working hard. I do believe that everyone can reach their potential, whatever that is, through hard work and persistence.”

Jim Fischer, former Delaware cross country and track coach and Quaz No. 104, on what separates a good runner from a great one.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.44.44 AM“I’d like to think if you’ve been consistently credible over a period of time, you won’t get lumped in with the dingbats when they misstep. And, if not, I’m still perky.”

Bonnie Bernstein, sportscaster and Quaz No. 118, on televised sports turning to young, perky, blonde.

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“I occasionally get the ‘Oh, like the president?’ line, and I just say, ‘Yes, like the president.'”

Jennie Eisenhower, actress, granddaughter of Richard Nixon, great granddaughter of Dwight Eisenhower and Quaz No. 140, on her famous last name.

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“I got into a little bit of trouble because I was the only black player from the West Coast. I didn’t know that I was not conducting myself as I should have been. For instance, the clubhouse was segregated. The whites were on one side and the blacks were on the other … and I was there a whole week before I realized that. I didn’t know. One of my teammates told me, ‘Why are you going in the front door of the clubhouse? Why are you drinking out of the fountain—you’re not supposed to do that. There’s a bucket in the back for us to drink out of.’”

Rudy May, former Major League pitcher and Quaz No. 136, on his first minor league season in 1962.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.45.00 AM“How the Komen board can justify a $684,000 salary for CEO Nancy Brinker when participation in their events has plummeted is beyond me. Following the Planned Parenthood debacle, Brinker said she would step down, but ten months later she’s still at the helm, and enjoying a 64% pay rise to boot.”

Samantha King, author, Susan G. Komen skeptic and Quaz No. 120, on a fraud charity making big bucks.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.50.08 AM“Those of us who go back a ways here in Bristol have a phrase that deals with the never-ending tide of highlights, scores, trades, and contract stories. Cavs/Mavs/Jazz. Say that to an old-timer, and they get it immediately. Another (hopefully not generic) highlight, of another game, from another season.”

Bob Ley, ESPN anchor and Quaz No. 159, on the repetitiveness of his job.

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“The beginning of the night was surreal. It was a complete S & M crowd—and it’s not nearly as sexy as Fifty Shades of Grey makes it out to be. At the time, I had a second job at a deli across from the courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale, and I saw a judge who I served sandwiches to in the afternoon now in the nightclub I worked at being led around on a leash. People were wearing various leather contraptions, or next to nothing.  Next to the bar I was working, there was a cage, maybe 8 ft. by 4ft. In that cage stood a guy, as Biff-y as you can imagine; white izod sweater, perfect hair, and stoically still.  All night, people abused him. They kicked him, spit on him, put cigarettes out on his flesh, and still he didn’t flinch. When I expressed concern to my bartending partner, she laughed and said, ‘That’s why he’s here.’ All of a sudden, a girl in a rubber dress (sans undergarments) decides to crawl on top of the cage and sit there. Biff took one look at her naked ass, and started freaking out, screaming, ‘Let me out! Let me out!”‘He was nearly in tears. Spit on, kicked, burned … and a naked ass was intolerable. That same night, a band called the Genitorturers performed. The main part of their show was the lead singer sewing the lips together of a man wearing lingerie.”

Marcia Herold, bartener and Quaz No. 122, on the craziest experience of her career.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.45.27 AM“I do enjoy watching Alex play, for the most part—his arm, his power—and he actually has a brilliant mind for the game. But what’s especially galling to me about him is that he has consistently tried to present himself as superior to everyone else, bigger than the game. It probably stems from insecurity, but it’s no excuse, and it’s nauseating. Also, he lies all the time—All. The. Time.—and I really think not enough people call him out on it.”

Tyler Kepner, New York Times baseball writer and Quaz No. 123, on Alex Rodriguez.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.47.21 AM“My wife will be the first to say I am book smart but not street smart. I locked myself out of my house today.”

Bowen Kerins, world champion pinball player and textbook author and Quaz No. 137, on being intelligent.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.42.26 AM“If you don’t feel like crying, it’s impossible to cry on demand. Even if you want to cry, it doesn’t always work the way you want it to. Conversely, I want to cry all the time when I’m not supposed to. Call it the Murphy’s Law of Acting.”

Erin Cronican, actress and Quaz No. 101, on making herself cry.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.50.55 AM“To be honest man It really sucked. My entire self-identity was as a professional player. I had no clue what I was supposed to do or what I was good at. I felt I belonged on the diamond. I still haven’t accepted it yet Jeff. I’m going to be in the Majors one day. I’m still living the dream.”

Jasha Balcom, former pro ballplayer, Jackie Robinson stunt double in 42 and Quaz No. 166, on accepting he’d never reach the Major Leagues.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.50.15 AM“I certainly don’t think I can speak for all Jews. But I do imagine the majority of us have this ‘need to please’ gene. And, like I mentioned before—’nothing’s ever good enough’ syndrome. Maybe this comes from growing up in homes with challenging or critical parents. But I think we all desperately want to be loved. And get validated. And there’s no greater validation than being loved on the world stage. Or by having millions of people seeing your work and responding to your material.”

Austin Winsberg, playewrite and Quaz No. 160, on why so many in the profession are Jewish.

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“There is an allure to those who couple an innate talent with fierce ambition, and while professional athletes represent that, the same can be said of successful doctors, writers, musicians. .. there’s no denying the fact that they exude a warranted confidence that’s downright sexy. Fame, money and celebrity status are obvious attractions, but I also think women want to marry men who are at the top of their game; the desire to be a part of that is intoxicating.”

Wanda Juzang Cooper, ex-wife of former Laker Michael Cooper and Quaz No. 142, on why women are drawn to athletes.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.46.41 AM“He showed me that he had an extra gear that I didn’t have. I felt like he did everything I did, but just better. He controlled the court better, served better and played defense better.”

James Blake, tennis star and Quaz No. 132, on why Roger Federer was better.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.45.35 AM“I was happy it was me and not another one of my soldiers because I knew I was strong enough to get through it.”

Melissa Stockwell, Army veteran, elite parathlete and Quaz No. 124, on the aftermath of losing her leg in a bomb explosion in Iraq.

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“I feel like I have lost that fight already to some degree. Often the battle with the self is just wretched. At the same time, I want to keep the battle going, and I never want to assume I’m any good. I think you drift into trouble once you assume you’re any good. It’s important to have benign misery.”

Chuck Culpepper, writer and Quaz No. 138, on staying sane.

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“When the John Rocker story came out, a friend did make a crack about that to me. The only “Pearlman” I have been repeatedly asked about being related to, though, is Itzhak (actually spelt “Perlman”).

Jeff Pearlman, musician and Quaz No. 145, on our shared name.

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