Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Video

As everyone knows by now, Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Temple of the Dog, passed away a few days ago. To me, when I think of the grunge era of the 90s, I think of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Stone Temple Pilots. While Soundgarden comes after these groups, Cornell had the most distinctive voice of any singer of this era. Actually, I don't think any male rock/pop singer had a better voice than Cornell. Maybe as good, but not better. Today, here's a special Sunday video post featuring Soundgarden. While the video for Black Hole Sun always freaked me out, here's Fell On Black Days, a song I like better any way.



I also recommend reading Josh's post about Cornell.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Chris Rock Wearing a Pirates Hat

Chris Rock and I have a lot in common. We both think that we're funny (though in Rock's case, he actually is funny). We both appeared on television, though again, Rock's stint on Saturday Night Live is a bit more notable than my appearances in the Price Is Right audience and calling into Rizzo Sports Week. We also both have Pittsburgh Pirates hats as evidenced by his appearance at Thursday's Pirates-Nationals game.


Let's Go Bucs!

This photo is courtesy of Stephanie Springer.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Random Ramblings

* I discovered that Paw Patrol and popsicle sound exactly the same when being said by my three year old (Pedro Tulo), leading to much confusion.

* I'm glad that my kids (and I) don't watch Barney and especially Teletubbies. 20 years ago, I feel like this would have been unavoidable.

* After working as a soccer referee for a few games over the weekend, Ziggy decided that he had a much better use for my bag.


* When my six year old (The Moose) plays soccer, he winds up on the ground a lot. Either he gets knocked over or just manages to fall on his own. I mention this because I've watched Jake Guentzel of the Penguins be on the ice a lot during the Stanley Cup playoffs. If my son is trying to pattern his soccer game after Guentzel's hockey game, I'm fine with that based on the results. By the way, this is a cool article written by Guentzel about being an 11 year-old and seeing Phil Kessel play in college and now playing with him a decade later. He also seems to have made a new friend with Nick Bonino's daughter.



* On the topic of soccer, I'm the coach of my son's team and despite the season starting on April 1st, there have only been two games because of rain and spring break. So frustrating.

* Finally, I received this trophy for winning my fantasy/rotisserie baseball league.


I think CBS patterned the bobblehead guy after Adrian Gonzalez of the LA Dodgers.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Had a Bad Day

On Monday, the Penguins got crushed in game six of the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Washington Capitals. Meanwhile, perhaps inspired by the Pens' performance, the Pirates lost 12-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. That wasn't even the worse news for the Pirates as pitcher Jameson Taillon had surgery for suspected testicular cancer. (Best wishes to Taillon on a speedy and full recovery.) The only way things could have been worse for Pittsburgh sports fans on Monday would have been if Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell, and Ben Roethlisberger were all suspended for drug use.

Away from the sports world, it's never good when my high school makes national news. That's what happened last week when an extremely disturbing video was released showing a police officer and the principal assault a student. Oh, the principal was also recently hired to be the team's football coach. Even if he was the perfect principal, how can he do both jobs effectively?

Let's move to my current home of Fairfax County. I was a resident of Reston, Virginia for 5 years. There's never any national news from Reston, right? Oh, just some crazy lady at Trader Joe's telling a Muslim woman that she shouldn't be in this country. Lovely.

There's got to be some positives, right? My friend Aaron Brame had this very cool poem "Watching Hockey with My Son" published in Sandy River Review.


Celebrate Fairfax is quickly approaching too. In exactly one month from today, Bush will perform Machinehead, Everything Zen, Comedown, and the underrated The Chemicals Between Us in Northern Virginia.



(Was this video always this odd?)

Here's to a better day today and a Penguins win on Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

2017 Steelers Draft Recap

Although my sports focus right now is on the Penguins-Capitals series, the NFL draft took place last week, so I thought I would share my thoughts about the Steelers draft picks. Please note that this isn't exactly an in-depth, analytic blog post. It's slightly different.

1st round: T.J. Watt, Linebacker, University of Wisconsin

Watt is probably best known for being the little brother of J.J. Watt, the all-pro linebacker for the Houston Texans. Little known fact...there is also an A.J., B.J., C.J., D.J., E.J., and a U.J. in the Watt family. If T.J. has any success in the NFL this season (let's say 10 sacks), you can guarantee that there will be some JJ/TJ commercials in our future. The Watts could be the new Mannings.

2nd round: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Wide Receiver, University of Southern California

I could go the easy route and write that JuJu is the first Jew(Jew) on the Steelers since Randy Grossman and Josh Miller, but Antonio Brown already represented the Jewish community proudly. Instead, I'd like to think that the Steelers drafted JuJu to keep one of the team's biggest fans, Snoop Dogg, happy. JuJu played in the Snoop Youth Football League and attended his favorite college, USC. Snoop definitely approved!




3rd round: Cam Sutton, Cornerback, University of Tennessee

Last season, the team's best defensive player, Cam Heyward, was lost for the season in early November due to a pectoral injury. For some Cam insurance, the Steelers decided to draft another Cam to make sure there is always a Cam on the field. (Alternatively, perhaps the Steelers staff has been spending a lot of time watching Modern Family reruns and decided they wanted another Cam on the team based on Eric Stonestreet's character who is also a football coach.)

3rd round: James Conner, Running Back, University of Pittsburgh

No attempts at jokes here. James Conner is a cancer survivor and probably the second best running back in University of Pittsburgh history (after Tony Dorsett) which says a lot since Curtis Martin, LeSean McCoy, Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, and Dion Lewis all played at Pitt. Plus, from everything that I've read and heard, Conner is a great person. To paraphrase, Silver Linings Playbook, James Conner is the man.



4th round: Joshua Dobbs, Quarterback, University of Tennessee

Dobbs is an aerospace engineering graduate and is smarter than all of us, particularly the unrelated Lou Dobbs. He also knows pi to at least 48 digits.



My favorite parts of this video are the host wanting no part of being involved in the bet (but being told that she has to do it) and the guy executing the pie smashing. I wonder what is going through his mind during with his stone cold expression.

5th round: Brian Allen, Cornerback, University of Utah

Just to be clear, the Steelers did not draft Byron Allen, the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of the U.S. television production company Entertainment Studios. This is Brian Allen...or is it?

6th round: Colin Holba, Long Snapper, University of Louisville

From the Steelers.com:

“Being a specialist, very rarely do guys get drafted,” said Holba. “Just for this to happen, it’s beyond my wildest imagination. I can’t wait to get to Pittsburgh and start working. I know (the Steelers) have Greg Warren. He has been there a while. He is one of the best in the business. I can’t wait to soak up all of the information he has to offer and do all that the coaches tell me to do and work my butt off.

“The Steelers have some of the best special teams in the NFL. I can’t wait to learn and soak up all the information (special teams coordinator Danny Smith) has to offer.”


Holba also wants to be around Sheryl Crow so that he can soak up the sun. Meanwhile, he's going to steal your girlfriend (in this scenario, "girlfriend" means Greg Warren's job).


There's a scene from Cheers where this character Henri says to Woody, "I'm going to steal your girlfriend" repeatedly. Sadly, I can't find the video, making this joke not nearly as good as it could have been. Ted Danson is the man though.

7th round: Keion Adams, Defensive End, Western Michigan University

Did you know that Western Michigan University, located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is only approximately 30 miles away from Three Rivers, Michigan? Based on its proximity to Three Rivers, you would think that the Steelers, who play near the confluence of the Alleghany, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers, would draft players from Western Michigan University more often!

For more of my amazing draft recaps of Pittsburgh sports teams, feel free to click here for the archives.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Welcome Spamalot Fans

I mentioned last month that I was going to advertise for the first time ever in the 12+ years of this blog. This is the result which appears in the Woodland Hills High School musical program for Monty Python's Spamalot playing April 28-29 and May 4-6, 2017. (Please click here for ticket information.)


So for those of you who were intrigued enough to check out this blog based on the program, thank you. I am a Woodland Hills alumnus who performed in two musicals as Government Man in Li'l Abner and Twin #2 in Peter Pan. I'm sure that Mr. Crone still uses my acting performance as an example for the cast each year. Or it's possible that Mr. Crone never shared my acting since he knew that no would ever be able to top these performances. I mean, why have Twin #1 and Twin #2 sing each line together in "I Won't Grow Up" when Twin #2 has a below average voice and was way off tune with Twin #1? Better to alternate lines, thus giving each a solo. Brilliant directing and acting!

Anyway, I write about Pittsburgh sports, pop culture, and things going on in my life, generally involving my kids, The Moose and Pedro Tulo (not their real names). I also post trivia quizzes and share videos on occasion. Just by reading this paragraph, I can tell that you're sold, will bookmark this page (do people still bookmark pages/websites?), and visit multiple times per day, even though I only post a few times per week.

So enjoy Spamalot or I hope that you enjoyed the show if you're visiting after watching the performance. And congratulations to the cast and crew of the production. I know that it's a lot of work, but you're part of one of the best high school musical productions in the country.

Oh, you can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I barely know what a Snapchat is, so I'm not there.

Go Penguins!

(Thanks to Sean McCool, an analyst and photographer for Pirates Prospects, for designing the ad. Please follow him on Twitter too!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trivia Wednesday

I didn't have a chance to post this yesterday, so instead of Trivia Tuesday, we're going to have Trivia Wednesday this week. Your challenge is to answer the questions below based on the maps.

1. This is a detail from a map showing the service area of what fictional New York organization?


2. This map shows the numbers of times each nation has done what?


3. Name the island shown in this edited Google Map image from March 2017.


4. Identify the event represented by this cartogram.


5. This map, updated in January 2017, shows the numbers of what in each state?


6. Whose name has been redacted from this map?


7. This is the main floor of what establishment?


8. This map (created for the Risk-like game Lux Delux) imagines a battle over what campus?


Please leave your answers in the comments section below. Good luck!

These questions are courtesy of the Just Images Maps mini-league of LearnedLeague.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Car Accident

A few weeks ago, I was involved in a car accident. Everyone was okay. Now that we established this, I'll try to set the scene of the accident. On a sunny afternoon, I was driving on a two-way, two-lane street in my neighborhood. At an intersection, a guy decided to turn into the side street apparently thinking he needed to do so quickly. Although I honked my horn and slammed on the breaks, only resulting in him stopping his car in the middle of road, I wasn't able to stop in time and hit the front right side portion of his car.



After making sure everyone was okay, he accused me of going too fast. I didn't respond because I couldn't believe this idiotic thought. Plus, another driver stopped by to check out the situation around this time and called the police for us. There were no witnesses to the accident, meaning he could have waited 4 seconds to turn after I passed through the intersection.


Meanwhile, the guy then ran, by foot, to his home to get insurance information. As I found out later, the guy has a Venezuelan license and is on his mother's insurance policy. Unfortunately, he was not Andres Galarraga. A police officer talked with both of us, had us complete the Police Department Accident Exchange of Information form, and ended up giving the other guy two citations, one for being at fault for the accident and I'm not sure what the other was for since I haven't seen the police report yet. (It could be related to the Venezuelan license.)


Now the real fun begins. Since the other driver was at fault, I went through his insurance company. After nearly two weeks (and me calling and emailing his insurance company multiple times), they told me that they were unable to get in touch with their client, and I would have to go through my insurance company. Lovely. I'm not going to identify his company, but Flo should either drop them or have their name their price tool equal about $30,000.


Anyway, my insurance company has been terrific. Unfortunately, they determined that my 2003 Honda with nearly 127,000 miles wasn't salvageable. While I'll get a settlement, I now need to find a new (to me) car rather quickly. We're probably looking at a bigger car like a Honda Pilot or Honda Odyssey, Toyota Highlander, Chrysler Town and Country or something similar. I don't want to use the word "minivan," but that could be in the discussion. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Trivia Tuesday: What Are iPhone Stickers?

We've established that I'm often out of touch, one of the last people to adjust to new technology, and basically, unhip. (Unless it's hip to be square, and then I think I'm okay. If you don't understand this reference, go to Google and search for Huey Lewis and The News greatest hits.) Therefore, it's no surprise that I don't understand this iPhone stickers commercial that appears to air non-stop:



So do you send these stickers via messages/texts? If so, are these different than emojis? Can you only get these stickers with an iPhone7? And in the commercial, why does the guy slam a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" sticker in someone's food? That seems extremely rude and uncool. Unless of course, this is the in thing to do now.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sean's Ramblings First Ad (Help Needed!)

In the 12+ years of Sean's Ramblings, I have spent exactly $0 on this blog. Based on the design, content, and the fact that "blogspot" is still part of the web address, I'm sure that this doesn't come as a surprise. This 12-year streak is about to end, and I need your help.

The back story. I am a graduate of Woodland Hills High School, probably best known for the amazing run of football players like Jason Taylor, Steve Breaston, Ryan Mundy, Lousaka Polite, Shawntae Spencer, and Rob Gronkowski that made it to the NFL. Woodland Hills has also consistently produced the best musicals in Western Pennsylvania over the past 25 years. I think it's fair to give myself a (very, very) tiny bit of credit for its success based on my work on stage crew for Guys and Dolls and "starring" roles as Government Man in Li'l Abner and Twin #2 in Peter Pan.


This year, Woodland Hills is producing Monty Python's Spamalot, and they are significant short on the budget. They are currently planning on making cuts to costumes and make up, eliminate the live orchestra, and basically cut everything besides essentials. (It seems to me a live orchestra is fairly essential for a live musical.) I personally know how much the theater program meant to me in high school as well as hundreds and hundreds and other students over the years. Therefore, I'm going to place an ad for Sean's Ramblings in the program to help make-up the shortfall. This is where you come in. I have very little design experience and skills (as you can tell by reading this blog). I also don't have much space to work with in an 1/8th page ad. I want to have some kind of ad that congratulates the cast and crew and also includes a link to the blog. Maybe I could even include an "S" logo that used to be at the top of the website, but doesn't seem to exist anymore. Any suggestions or willingness to help me put something together are greatly appreciated. While this would probably take someone who knows what they are doing about 10 minutes, it could take me hours.

Thanks for helping support a great cause (the musical, not my blog)!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Happy 6th Birthday

The Moose turned six over the weekend, so I thought I would write a "letter" to him in case he wants to read this later in life. (Let's just hope he doesn't read most of my other blog posts.)

Happy 6th Birthday! You have been counting down to this day for weeks and are truly excited to celebrate. When we took you to your first day of kindergarten last September, I remember being worried about how you would adjust to a new and bigger school without knowing anyone. Looking back now, I have no idea why I was worried. You made friends with your classmates so quickly and everyone, including the older kids in the after-school program, seem to like you. We picked up dinner recently and you saw one of your classmates at the restaurant. You went right up to him, played a few games or rock-paper-scissors, both of you laughed, and you came back smiling.

This brings me something else. You are really, really competitive. While this is a generally a positive asset while playing soccer and often motivates you at school, not everything needs to be a competition and you can be a sore loser. You're not going to win every game of UNO (and there are definitely no ties in UNO though not according to you).


You also love watching sports. Any sports. Naturally, your team always wins. For example, when we attended the URI-George Mason basketball last month, you cheered for URI as they led throughout. Late in the game, when George Mason took the lead, you started supporting the Patriots. URI prevailed at the end, and you were happy that your team won. Please just pick a team and stick with them. Maybe this is the Pittsburgh Pirates fan in me supporting the team over so many years of failure.

Overall, you're a sweet boy. Sure, I would prefer that you listen more often than you do and it would be outstanding if you moved faster, particularly in the morning. Apparently, you take after me regarding moving slowly, though I move much faster than you. Hey, I can be competitive here too! You love your brother (unless he's playing with your stuff), and the two of you are going to create so much mischief together...in a good way, I hope. You can definitely be shy too, and that's just part of your personality.

There are times when I'm excited that you're growing up and others where I want you to stay this exact age. Just know that you are loved so, so much. Happy Birthday!


(This is the closest to me sharing a complete picture of The Moose on my blog. He "borrowed" the hat I received from attending a Nashville Predators game, and he thinks it's his hat now.)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pirates Should Sign Doug Fister

The start of the 2017 baseball season is only approximately a week away. As of now, it appears that the Pittsburgh Pirates, coming off of a 78-83 (and 1 tie that no one seems to recognize) season, are going to have the following starting pitching staff:

Gerrit Cole
Ivan Nova
Jameson Taillon
Chad Kuhl
Tyler Glasnow or Drew Hutchison

Taillon, Kuhl, and Glasnow all made their major league debuts in 2016 with varying degrees of success. Glasnow, in particular, struggled though he's pitched better recently in spring training. While Hutchison has slightly more professional experience, he has had a poor spring training thus far. With apologies to unproven Steven Brault and Trevor Williams, who both seemed destined to start the season in AAA, if any of the starting pitchers get injured or struggle, there appears to be no reliable depth. Enter Doug Fister.


The 33 year-old pitcher is currently a free agent. I'm not really good at presenting baseball stats, but Fister has a career 3.60 ERA. That is better than every Pirate that started a game in 2016 with the exception of Nova and Taillon.


(Thanks to Matt Gajka of DK Pittsburgh Sports for this graph from Baseball Reference.)

Fister was a league average pitcher with a 0.0 WAR in Houston last season (not exactly a pitcher's park), yet, he pitched 180 innings, more than any other Pirate in 2016. He also had a fantastic 2014 season in Washington when he went 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA. From following the Nationals, I can understand his disappointing 2015 season as the team inexplicably bounced Fister back and forth from being a starter to the bullpen. So after a combined 8.6 WAR in in 2013-2014, he only had a 0.2 WAR in 2015-2016. I also remember him being a ground-ball pitcher (though I don't have stats to support this) which works well at PNC Park. I think coming back to the National League and working with Pirates' pitching coach Ray Searage will help Fister be closer to the pitcher he was in 2013-2014.

Since Fister hasn't pitched yet this spring, the Pirates can easily let him get stretched out in AAA or extended spring training, particularly since the team won't need a 5th starter very often in April.

I'm completely on the Pirates should sign Fister bandwagon. I may even need to start a petition. In the meantime, I'll just use the hashtag #PiratesSignFister.

Get it done, Pirates!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fatherhood Stories & The Missing Hat (Random Ramblings)

We are in full potty training mode for Pedro Tulo who will turn 3 next month. This means regular trips to the bathroom every 30 minutes or so. Pedro Tulo enjoys flushing the toilet and will do this multiple times per restroom trip even if the toilet hasn't completely filled up with water after the original flush. He's actually doing pretty well though he still doesn't tell us when he needs to go. Anyway, we recently received our quarterly water bill, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was less than $7,000.

On December 15, 2006, my friend and I attended a Pittsburgh Penguins-New York Islanders game at the Civic Arena in what has turned out to be stop #1 in our now 10-year hockey road trip. Ryan Malone scored a hat trick in this game, and all fans received a Penguins ski/winter hat courtesy of Seven Springs. (Yes, I believe that many hats were thrown on the ice.) I am saddened to report that I lost the hat somewhere yesterday morning. It must have fallen out of my jacket pocket at my son's school or somewhere near the Metro station. I won't call this devastating, but it is definitely a loss.

Our ear, nose, and throat doctor and entire office are still in business because of us. Actually, maybe they all got significant holiday bonuses because of us between getting tubes in and tonsils out and all of the follow up appointments. I think they should send us a gift basket or something. Maybe winter hats!

There is music-based competition television show hosted by Jamie Foxx called Beat Shazam that is currently looking for contestants. This is right up my alley, and I may apply when I get an extra few hours to craft the perfect application and video (meaning that I probably won't apply). Here's information about the show.


One trivia question for the day: Grand Island, Fremont, Hastings, Papillion, and Bellevue are among the ten most populous cities in which U.S. state?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

NCAA Tournament Challenge

Everyone creates his or her NCAA Tournament Challenge, but I want to do something different. I'm teaming up with (insert the name of anyone who wants to be a sponsor here) to have the Sean's Ramblings NCAA Women's Tournament Challenge.


Are you concerned that you know nothing about women's college basketball? No problem! Here's what I can tell you about women's college basketball this year:

1. UConn hasn't lost a game since the Carter Administration.
2. Baylor's basketball coach wants to fight people who don't like Baylor.
3. The Maryland Terps went 30-2 this season, but only got a #3 seed...in the region with UConn.

If you know more than this, you have a good chance to win. If you know less than this, you have a good chance to win.

Simply go to the ESPN website to join the "Sean's Ramblings" group. Submit your picks before the games begin on Friday, March 17th. Good luck!