Thursday, January 19, 2017

Kids Book Predicts Steelers-Patriots Game

Back in November, I traveled to Portland and made sure to visit Powell's Books the "largest used and new bookstore in the world." While trying to find Ron Lippock's Steelers Takeaways among the approximately 1 million books in stock, I stumbled upon Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go and bought it for the sake of a future blog post (and to read to my kids, but mostly for blog content). What I didn't realize is that this predicts the outcome of Sunday's Steelers-New England Patriots AFC Championship game.

Before we see the pictures below, I think it's fair to point out several inaccuracies. First, the game in the book takes place at Heinz Field which makes perfect sense for a children's book about the Steelers. In addition, most of the uniform numbers don't match up with current players. So with that, let's witness what will happen on Sunday.

Coach Mike Tomlin, arguably the greatest cheerleader in this country's history, leads the team in a rousing edition of Give Me An S, Give me a T, etc. so that the entire team spells the word Steelers. Antonio Brown is front and center this time to get a better camera angle for Facebook Live.

In the spirit of the referee's message of good sportsmanship, Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount and Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell decide to get high together right at midfield.

The role of James Harrison in this picture is being played by Anthony Chickillo. After the sack, Jim Nantz will refer to James Harrison as "ageless." (And yes, that is my cat Ziggy's tail next to the book.)

After last week's struggles in the red zone, the Steelers decided to hand the ball to Le'Veon Bell (being played by Fitzgerald Toussaint in the book) for a touchdown on a 4th and goal. Smart call!

Chris Boswell has been terrific this season, so why wouldn't he (and not the pictured Jeff Reed or Landry Jones) kick the game-winning field goal?

Celebration time! I'm sure Julian Edelman will be all smiles shaking hands after the game since that's how his team is run." Meanwhile, Steely McBeam is out haunting people in the parking lot.

So there you go. The Steelers will win on Sunday with a late field goal. Enjoy the game (even though you already know the result)!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Ultimate Lee Greenwood Inauguration Set List

Ever take an idea too far? Well, that's the motivation for this post. Country singer Lee Greenwood, best known for "God Bless the USA" during his long career, will perform at this week's inauguration festivities. While I'm sure he'll sing all of his normal hits, I thought it would be fun for him to mix things up and play a bunch of covers.

I proposed several songs and asked for more suggestions on my Facebook page. Please note that these songs are probably not very popular among Greenwood's audience, and it's almost certain that Greenwood has never sang these songs. (That's what makes this even more fun!) Please note that I don't think there are any bad words in these videos, but you still may not want to watch them at work. Enjoy!

Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot

Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard

Not Ready To Make Nice by Dixie Chicks

Break Free by Ariana Grande

Why perform one Ariana Grande song, when you can perform two!

Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande

Raising Hell by Run-DMC

Why perform one Run DMC song when you can perform two?

It's Tricky by Run DMC

OPP by Naughty By Nature

Raining Blood by Slayer

Hips Don't Lie by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean (Greenwood could probably perform both parts.)

I really, really, really hope Greenwood performs some of these songs during the inauguration concert. Even just one of these would be fantastic. Feel free to include your own set list suggestions in the comments section below.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Hating The Patriots

On Saturday night, Alan Saunders of Pittsburgh Sports Now, Pirates Prospects, and the Beaver County Times among other places mentioned on Twitter that he has an NFL column bouncing around in his head, but he doesn't write about the NFL or have his own column. I replied that he was welcome to share his thoughts here. Amazingly, he said yes. So here's Alan:

We don’t root for injuries in football. 

It’s an interesting thing, that piece of football fandom, and it tells us a lot about the way we tick as football fans. Of the major American team sports, football is by far the most violent. Men of over 300 pounds collide with one another at the force of a minor automobile accident dozens of times a game. 

Injuries are a part of football. The league has a policy that each team must release a list of which players are injured and how injured they are each and every week. It’s not the exception, it’s the rule. Players are going to get hurt. It’s often said that it’s not the best team that wins the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season, but the healthiest one.

But we don’t root for injuries, even against a foe as despised as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, whose level of revulsion by the fans of the league’s other 31 teams is only rivaled by their own level of success. The Patriots, who now await the winner of the Pittsburgh - Kansas City game, escaped their Divisional Round game against Houston without any serious injuries, whether they were rooted for or not.

The fact that we don’t root for injuries is a lesson I learned in 1989. That was the year I first became a sports fan, and at the impressionable age of six, there are some things that have stuck with me. The Steelers had played the Cleveland Browns early that year and got trounced, 51-0, in one of the most lopsided defeats in team history. Six weeks later, the Steelers would have to go to Cleveland to avoid being swept by their (at that point) fierce rival.

I don’t recall the identity of the Browns player that laid, sprawled out on the field on the muddy grass of Cleveland Municipal Stadium long after a play. I’m sure it was one of their more-explosive offensive players, perhaps Eric Metcalf, Ozzie Newsome or Webster Slaughter. As the Browns trainers rushed onto the field to tend to their injured star, 6-year-old me leapt off the couch. The loss of a big offensive weapon would for the Browns would be a huge boon for the Steelers’ chances of winning.

The Steelers ended up winning the game, but six-year-old me’s father was unimpressed with my behavior and I got something of a talking to. That’s when I learned that we don’t root for injuries in football. 

There’s a reason.

Now, I haven’t been around long enough to know the intentions of the men that molded the game of rugby into what we now call American football, but whether it was intentional from the start or acquired along the way, there is a gladiatorial spirit to the game.

The goal is of course to win, but that spirit demands that a victory be celebrated less if it is a hollow one. The goal of every team is not just to win, but to face — and defeat — the best each opponent has to throw at them.

That is why we hate the New England Patriots. The Patriots, for all of the success of their four Super Bowls and 14 division titles over the last 15 years, don’t succumb to the will of that gladiatorial spirit. They beat teams, not by overpowering them, not by being more athletic, or stronger, or tougher, but by outsmarting them.

Everything they do, from exotic formations and schemes to the things on the fringes of the rulebook (or over, some would say), is designed to give the team an advantage. In 2015, the Patriots flummoxed the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs with a little-used but technically legal formation that confused the Baltimore defense. That was the same game in which it was initially revealed that the Patriots were using under-inflated footballs. The team had also been cited for illegal recording the practices of opposing teams and has been accused of tampering with visit radio equipment for years.

The reason we hate the Patriots is the same reason we don’t root for injuries. We’re not supposed to want an ill-gotten advantage. We’re supposed to want to face and beat the opponent’s best in a fair fight. The Patriots are healthy, so someone is going to get their wish.

Sean's Note: I think we also hate the Patriots because of Bill Belichick. He thinks he's smarter than everyone, and though he's probably right, he's a jerk about it. It also doesn't help that despite being so smart, he still had to cheat with Spygate. Tom Brady is also unlikeable. It's acknowledged that he's one of the best quarterbacks ever to play, but he's robotic. Besides appearing in Ted 2, has he every showed a personality?

Thanks again to Alan for his willingness to share his writing here. Please make sure you follow Alan on Twitter.

Monday, January 09, 2017

2017 State Of The Ramblings

12 years. That's how long this silly blog has been around. 12 years is a really long time for a blog. Are there even new blogs anymore? Josh recently lamented the fact that there aren't many personal blogs anymore. They seem to be either subject-specific (sports teams, "mommy" blogs, etc.) or corporate/business blogs. Yet, Sean's Ramblings marches on.

So what can I write about the past year? I wrote fewer posts than ever before, though I still managed over 100 posts. I've found that "short" posts work best on Twitter or my Facebook page. These are essentially videos or a couple of sentences about a subject. However, I just don't have the time to write "longer" posts anymore. For example, I really want to share my experience in Nashville during the most-recent hockey road trip, but nearly 6 weeks after I returned home, the post hasn't happened yet. Instead, most of my posts are just a few paragraphs or a video with a longer narrative than 140 characters.

My favorite posts from the past year were actually my interviews. They probably qualify as "longer" posts but since I'm not writing most of the text, it doesn't feel that way. Thanks again to Ron, author of Steelers Takeaways, Dane Fischer, Assistant Basketball Coach at George Mason University, Vinny, the Gamenight DJ for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Ellen, live in New Hampshire before the primary elections, for taking the time to answer my questions. I also had a few posts about being a dad. However, the "highlight" of the year was getting a cease and desist from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. What an honor! I'm going to blame Drake.

With all of that written, I still have big ideas. Although getting press credentials for the Oscars didn't work out, I've love to cover an awards show. Maybe the Grammys or People's Choice Awards. I don't know, something. Are there any award shows in DC? Maybe something live in New York which would be a lot easier (and cheaper) to get to than LA. Actually, covering a sporting event would be cool too. There has to be some DC area or Pittsburgh sports team that want to give me press credentials!

Thanks to all of you for your support the past 12 years. It's greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Tuesday Night

Happy New Year! Today, you're going to get three rants for the price of one (assuming that you're paying for this blog...which you're not, so you're just getting three rants).

I don't have a Fitbit, but my phone counts my steps, and I try to get 10,000 steps per day. Since I returned from my hockey road trip on the first Sunday of December, I've only reached 10,000 steps three times due to me being sick, one of my kids being sick, and/or cold weather making it easy for me to stay inside. We have a gym in our complex, so I decided to walk on the treadmill for about 30 minutes. Not hard core exercise but a way to actually move instead of sitting on the couch after the kids went to sleep.

While one of the two televisions had the Capitals-Maple Leafs game, the other had the CBS show Bull. I pledged never to watch this show because a guy who can select a new jury every week sounded like a terrible show. Plus, I have no interest in Michael Weatherly. It's great that he got his NCIS money and wants to prove he can be out of Mark Harmon's shadow but that doesn't mean that I'm going to watch his show. Yet, I was stuck sort of watching it on Tuesday night. While I knew that Dr. Phil was somehow involved with the show, I was shocked to see Steven Spielberg listed in the opening credits as an Executive Producer. My question is why? It's not like he needs the money. Did he want to get some kind of deal with CBS and being a producer on this show was part of the agreement? I just don't get it. Bull seems like nothing that should have his name attached to it. Oh, I watched about 10 minutes of Bull without sound and probably won't ever see it again.

After the gym, I went to the local Safeway to pick up cat litter. Safeway has $5 Friday deals each week and every few months have Tidy Cats litter for, you guessed it $5. Gene Weingarten, humor columnist for The Washington Post, recently wrote a very funny article titled "Here’s what happened before God let cats loose upon the world." This is the ending

God: Indeed. That leads us to a central issue, Cat. You shall poop in a box.

Cat: WHAT?

God: A little box. From the time you are a small suckling you will know that you must do this and you will never, ever, ever make a mistake about this.

Cat: No!

God: Your life depends on it. Trusteth me on this.

Cat: I cannot ...

God: You can and you will. You scratch bellies. You bite feet. You live as a saboteur. You are an unconscionable jerk. In return for this license you will poop in a little box.

Cat: I am a very good boy.

God: You are not.

Cat: The sand that I shall poop in? Is it expensive?

God: Yes, it is very expensive, indeed.

Cat: Fine.

Basically, $5 for a 20-pound container of cat litter is a fantastic deal. It seems like many other people had the same idea as me last Friday as the litter was completely sold out. I got a rain check.

Back to Tuesday, I went to Safeway to cash my rain check and although I arrived at the store around 9:30 and not midnight, all of the registers were closed with only self-checkout machines available. Of course, two of six machines were out of service leaving one overworked employee to assist a line about 15-deep. After finally getting to a machine, I informed the employee that I had a rain check. He told me that they can only be redeemed at a register. Lovely. He called someone to open a register, and after about five minutes, I finally got to check out. Sort of. The cashier had no idea how to redeem rain checks, so she had to call a manager. Add another few minutes. Finally, we got everything resolved. Sort of. My rain check was for 6 containers of cat litter, but Safeway only had 4. The manager basically told me that I was out of luck and had to use the rain check on the 4. He did not issue me an additional rain check, and I was in no mood to argue as I had already been at the grocery store for nearly 30 minutes. I'm so spoiled by Wegmans with actual people working and employees available to answer questions and, you know, provide customer service. I would vow to never return to Safeway, but I can't pass up the $5 deals of cat litter.

Finally, I came home and opened the mail. One letter was from the homeowner's association with the semi-annual assessment. Here's the problem. The assessment was due on January 1st, so being a responsible resident, I paid it on time. However, the letter included this statement:

Please note that the remittance address on your payment coupons has changed. If you pay by personal check, you do not need to do anything further. Simply use the coupons and remittance envelopes provided to mail your payment. If you use your financial institution's bill payment feature, you must change the payment information.

I do all of my bill payments online, so now I need to call and figure out where my payment went and how it can get to the right place. None of this would have been an issue if I knew about the new address BEFORE THE DUE DATE.

Now that I got this off of my chest, I'm going to try to do something positive. I'm not necessarily going to call it a resolution, but I heard this on the radio and thought it was a good idea. At the end of the day, you're supposed to write down three good things that happened to you. It could be something minor like the Metro didn't break down or cat litter was on sale or something much bigger. Supposedly, after only a few days of doing this, you'll feel better (or something). I'll probably post "my three positive things today" on Twitter. And again, Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sean's Best & Worst Of 2016

I always find it odd when magazines, newspapers, websites, etc. share their best and worst of lists in November or early December. There's still an entire month that they can miss. Therefore, I'm proud to present my 2016 best of/worst of list with only 2+ days left of this year.

Best Television Show: O.J. Simpson

This has been a really strong class of new shows on network television. Designated Survivor, This Is Us, Speechless, The Good Place, and Pitch all earned season DVR passes. Game of Thrones, Veep, and Better Call Saul were also amazing this year. However, for me, O.J. Simpson was the best thing on television in 2016. Ezra Edelman created a 5-part documentary titled O.J.: Made in America that did an outstanding job of not only describing O.J.'s life but also the history of race relations in Los Angeles. The murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman weren't even really discussed until part three of the series. Meanwhile, FX aired The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Sure, John Travolta and Cuba Gooding Jr. were a bit over the top, but the acting of Courtney B. Vance, Sarah Paulson, and Sterling K. Brown as Johnnie Cochran, Marcia Clark, and Christopher Darden, respectively, was incredible. I highly recommend watching both of these.

Worst Show: The Great Indoors

This was a really tough call between Man With a Plan starring Matt LeBlanc or The Great Indoors with Joel McHale. I guess I'll go with The Great Indoors only because Man With a Plan supposedly takes place in Pittsburgh, so the few stock photos of my hometown gives it a bonus point. The Great Indoors features McHale as an outdoors writer who apparently has never been online. Meanwhile, he now works with millennials who never leave their computers. Hilarity does not ensue.

Best Movie I Saw In the Theater: Arrival

I saw a whopping three movies in the theater this year (in related news, I did not receive media credentials for the Oscars), the most I saw live in probably 5 years. Arrival was definitely the best and should receive a Best Picture nomination. This is a sci-fi film but without the action/adventure component of most films in this genre. It's more of a thinking person's film that kept me engaged. Plus, I'd probably watch a 2-hour movie of Amy Adams reading from a phone book

Worst Movie: Sausage Party

Yes, there are some funny moments but the ending was just a big "wtf did I just see?"

Best Song: Starboy

My rule is that the best song of the year has to be featured in one of my Friday video blog posts. In my mind, this comes down to three songs: DNCE's Cake By The Ocean remains catchy after being all over the place for the past year, but I think I would regret this selection in a few years. I also really like You Don't Get Me High Anymore by Phantogram, but I don't think anyone actually knows this song. Therefore, my winner is The Weeknd's Starboy even though I have no idea what the song is about.

Worst Song: Work by Rihanna featuring Drake

It's not that this song is bad; I just have no idea what Rihanna is singing in the chorus.

Best Blog: Josh's World

I honestly don't know how Josh does it. He produces quality blog posts nearly every day on a variety of topics from book and movie reviews to sports to politics and what's going on in his life. I'm looking forward to his posts next year when he becomes a new dad.

Worst Blog: Everybody Loves You

Alex is one of my favorite writers...but he hasn't published a new blog post since early September! I know life gets in the way of writing and I miss his posts. (Maybe this will encourage him to start writing again. Maybe?)

Best Podcast: Pop Culture Happy Hour

While I enjoy YaJagoff! Podcast and The Jonah Keri Podcast, NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour is my favorite. In this weekly podcast, Linda Holmes, Stephen Thompson, Glen Weldon (my personal favorite), and a special guest discuss one or two topics (generally a movie or TV show). Then, they conclude with a "What's Making Me Happy" segment where they each pick a book, podcast, show, etc. that they recommend. It's always an enjoyable listen. The Live PCHH with Kumail Nanjiani (of Silicon Valley) discussing romantic comedies was hilarious.

Worst Podcast: The Bill Simmons Podcast

I used to be a big Simmons fan devouring everything he wrote. He also put together some excellent podcasts with Chuck Klosterman, Malcolm Gladwell, and others. Now, however, it seems like every single podcast is him predicting NFL lines with Cousin Sal. This bit was old years ago.

Best Sports Moment: The Penguins winning the Stanley Cup!

What a run!

Worst Sports Moment: Pittsburgh Pirates

After seeing the Penguins win the Cup, I really should complain about any Pittsburgh sports teams. However, after three consecutive playoff berths including winning 98 games in 2015, the Pirates were a disappointing 78-83-1 in 2016.

Best Fantasy Sports Person: Me

Sorry Meat Loaf, but in fantasy sports, 2016 was the Year of Sean. I won my fantasy baseball league for the second time in three years after going 20+ years without a title. In fantasy football, I won 2 of the 3 leagues I'm in, and I'm also in the Championship of the Pittsburgh Bloggers Fantasy Football League this weekend. Not too shabby!

Best Book: The Hike by Drew Magary

I've enjoyed Magary's writing in Deadspin and the old Kissing Suzy Kolber for a long time and his books are also great. The Hike may be his best work. I'll let Washington City Paper give a quote:

“The Hike reads like a mix of The Odyssey and The Phantom Tollbooth, with the same humor Magary uses on Deadspin. . . . Along the way, Magary’s hero hunts for an enigmatic mastermind, encounters man-eating giants and monsters, and teams up with a talking crab. What starts out as a saga of suburban ennui quickly turns into gripping tale of survival.”

Worst Book: None

I didn't read enough books to have a worst book this year. I need to do better and read more in 2017.

Best Blog Post: (Tie) My Interview with Vinny Karpuszka & Donald Trump Is Going To Be President

My interview with Vinny, the Pittsburgh Penguins' gamenight DJ, was a lot of fun. The second one isn't particularly great; it's just that I was correct in my early March prediction that Donald Trump would win. This particular line seemed quite prophetic:

"Will Clinton be able to inspire the Democratic base and get enough Independents in Virginia, Florida and North Carolina to win the election? As of today, my guess is no."

Worst Blog Post: Shooting at Burger King

I blamed a Whopper for shooting someone.

Feel free to share your best and worst of 2016 in the comments below, and have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sean's Ramblings 2016 Year In Review (Sort Of)

Welcome to my 12th (yes, 12th!) annual year in review, where I take the first few lines of the first entry of each month in order to produce a random and (hopefully) interesting summary of 2016. Please note that this is not my State of the Ramblings (that comes next month) or my picks for best of/worst of 2016 (that will be later this week). This is simply a summary.

January: Ryan Seacrest, Carson Daly and Pitbull all counted down to start 2016 on national television, but I know that the new year can't truly begin for all us until we know the top visitors to Sean's Ramblings in 2015.

February: Wegmans celebrated its 100th birthday this weekend by giving away lots of samples, grocery bags and birthday cake. (My 1.5 year old - Pedro Tulo - loved the sheet cake.)

March: What a scary headline. The American political system has become extremely partisan with little getting done in Washington, so many voters are looking for a political outsider.

April: Today’s post comes from Jenilee Dunson, a geek, otaku, and lover of all things kawaii (I have no idea what this means) who also writes about video games, anime, tech and toys at Geeky Sweetie.

May: I promise that this post isn't too political. I went out on Monday night to play trivia and to watch game three of the Pens-Caps series.

June: You may or may not remember the singer Mike Posner.

July: Season 69 of the Learned League ended last week, and I dominated questions related to television where I got 9 of 10 correct.

August: Ron Lippock runs the PGH Sports Daily website and also sends out Pittsburgh Sports Daily Bulletin e-mails with links to blogs and articles about, you guessed it, Pittsburgh sports.

September: Tuesday marked the first day of kindergarten for The Moose (my five year old) and first day of preschool for Pedro Tulo (my two year old). Naturally, there was a lot to do in the days and weeks leading up to the start of the school year.

October: With Rosh Hashanah starting later this evening, I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. To get everyone in the holiday spirit, I thought I would share a quick story.

November: Halloween with young kids can be really fun. It can also be very frustrating.

December: I recently found a $100 US treasury bond that I received in 2001, apparently as a gift for graduating from graduate school.

Some sports, some fatherhood stuff, some politics, and some pop culture. That seems about right.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Hanukkah 2016

Hanukkah begins on Saturday evening, so if you're doing some last minute shopping for latkes (potato pancakes) or donuts, don't forget to buy pickles too. Seriously, I'd love for my legacy to be helping pickles become part of the Hanukkah tradition. You can click here to see how the tradition of eating pickles on Hanukkah started way back in 1998 in San Diego. Please help make this happen!

Let's check out some videos to celebrate the Festival of Lights:

The Maccabeats are back with a Hamilton-themed song.

Meanwhile, Six13's Hanukkah song this year also has a Hamilton theme. The feud between these two groups must be at an all-time high!

Shir Soul Singers want into this a cappella mix and look to differentiate themselves from the others via face painting.

I honestly don't know what this is.

Tex-Mex Latkes? I'm not sold, but I'd be willing to try this if someone wants to make them and bring them over.

This guy wants you to celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas together.

And this woman came up with a name to celebrate the holidays together, Chrismukkah.

Apparently, this family listened to the last two videos and is celebrating the two holidays together. Welcome to the show! (Enjoy the WWE action around the 1:20 mark.)

And finally, a Happy Hanukkah from Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

One more finally. This is a Happy Hanukkah from Ottawa.

Happy Hanukkah to those who are celebrating!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Champagne Ivan Nova

With the surprising news that the Pittsburgh Pirates re-signed pitcher Ivan Nova for reportedly 3 years/$26* million, let's celebrate! Nova was terrific after being acquired from the Yankees earlier this summer and keeping him at a reasonable price for a starting pitcher is fantastic for the Pirates. It's a Festivus Miracle!

So in honor of this transaction, take it away Oasis!

* There may be incentives that could bring this total to $30 million.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trivia Tuesday

It's the holiday season, so how about some trivia to celebrate. Your challenge is to answer the ten questions based on the pictures (and questions) below.

Please do not use the internet for assistance, and leave your answers in the comments section below. Good luck!

This quiz is courtesy of the fine folks at Pub Stumpers.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Dream Is Over

Last month, I applied for press credentials for the 2017 Academy Awards. Unfortunately, I didn't realize the due date to apply was the day I looked on the Oscars website, so I had to quickly complete the application. In hindsight, I wish I would have added more to this question:

19. Provide any additional information necessary to complete your application. This may include special access requests in addition to the above positions and/or specific requests regarding the above positions.

I do not require any special access. While The Academy works with many of the biggest global media organizations, this would be an opportunity for The Academy to get covered by the "little guy." Sure, it might be fun to see Ryan Seacrest interview Meryl Streep, but seeing the guy next door interview Streep (and more importantly talk to the people that don't necessarily get the attention they deserve) would be more interesting.

If I had more than 5 minutes, perhaps I would have phrased this differently. Anyway, on Thursday, I received the following e-mail:




Sean's Ramblings, (Not Dear Sean's Ramblings, Dear Sean, Dear Mr. Ramblings, or even Dear Mr. My Last Name...just Sean's Ramblings)

We regret to inform you that the Academy is not able to accommodate your request(s) for credentials to cover the 89th Oscars on Sunday, February 26, 2017, and the Nominations Announcement on Tuesday, January 24, 2017.

This is a travesty!

Please be aware that information about the Academy and the Oscars is always available on the Academy’s year-round web site at Additionally, information will be available on the official website of the 89th Oscars,, beginning with Nominations information on Tuesday, January 24. will continue to be an excellent source of Oscars information in the weeks leading up to the Academy Awards presentation on Oscar® Sunday, February 26, 2017.

Due to safety and capacity regulations, the Academy will no longer offer Oscars Setup credentials (also previously known as Exterior Access and Oscar Week credentials) for the upcoming show. We will provide other coverage opportunity and event information in January on our Oscars Coverage Planning Calendar at

So there's still a chance I could cover some random, not as important event in January?


Images of all Oscars pre-events and the 89th Oscars will be posted as they are available at

Why do I have a feeling that I won't be allowed to post these pictures on my blog.

Thank you for your interest in the Oscars.

It would have been nice to have this signed. Sincerely, Oscar or Sincerely, Anna Kendrick. (I just figure that Anna Kendrick is involved in all facets of the Oscars.

I don't think I can appeal this decision, so I'll have to try again next year. Actually, maybe I'll apply for media coverage for the Emmy Awards instead!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Hockey Road Trip: St. Louis

For nearly the past decade now, my friend and I have attended NHL games across North America each year. Although I haven't written about our experiences much the past few years, I wanted to write about this year's trip to St. Louis, Nashville, and, um, Metropolis.

Let's start with a little history. The St. Louis Blues formed in 1967 when the NHL expanded from 6 teams to 12 teams along with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, and others. Although the Blues reached the playoffs for 25 consecutive years from 1980-2004 and lost in the Western Conference Finals during the 2015-2016 season, the Blues are the oldest NHL team to never have won the Stanley Cup. However, the team's 50th year logo is pretty cool and they are hosting the Winter Classic next months, so that's worth something.

Throughout these hockey trips, I've seen amazing crowds in places such as Montreal and Chicago where the arenas were packed and fans were totally into the game. There have also been arenas with less enthusiastic crowds (I'm looking at you, Toronto!). St. Louis leaned toward the latter. Lots of empty seats and not nearly as loud as you'd expect when the home team scores three goals in the first period. Maybe the acoustics of Scottrade Center keep make it seem more quiet though the pre-game music blasted through the speakers.

I'm switching this from my typical glorious prose to more notes about the game/St. Louis.

- It was cold and dark when we arrived outside Scottrade Center, but I didn't notice much of an atmosphere around the arena. We actually parked in a parking garage attached to arena and walked right in. Meanwhile, about a mile away, there is an entire outdoor area with restaurants about a mile away adjacent to Busch Stadium, St. Louis' baseball stadium. This seems like a vibrant and fun area to visit before, during, and after baseball games. There was no such vibe around the hockey arena.

- If you're a St. Louis Blues fan, can you please explain this guy?

Does he do this at every game? If so, is he a Blues employee or a season ticket-holder? Is he allowed to leave his seat during the game? I mean, what happens if he's in the bathroom or stuck in line getting food when the Blues score? Will no one know how many goals the Blues have? In addition, what does he throw?

- In the 21 games during our hockey road trip, we saw a hat trick twice, during game #1 (Ryan Malone of the Pens) and game #6 (Dustin Byfuglien of the Blackhawks). Thanks to Vladimir Tarasenko, we've now seen three hat tricks live. Definitely a highlight of the trip seeing star players at their best.

- Are Dippin' Dots really the ice cream of the future? If so, you'd think the ice cream of the future stand would accept more forms of payment other than cash.

- Did you know that the World Chess Hall of Fame is in St. Louis? If you did, um, checkmate!

- Recommendation if visiting St. Louis: check out the free zoo. However, don't go at 3:00 on a cold Thursday, December afternoon during their holiday of lights season. The gift shop was closed and none of the animals were out. I mean, I saw a sleeping Andean bear and a few squirrels and birds, but this may have been the highlight.

- I did see Louie the Bear though. Sadly, I didn't get a picture with him.

- I ate lunch at Schlafly Bottleworks and had a $2 beer. Not a $2 sample but a $2 pint. And it (and the food) was good! By the way, according to its website, Schlafly is "Missouri’s largest locally owned independent brewery" and the Schlafly Tap Room, which opened in 1991, was first new brewpub to open in Missouri since Prohibition. So, um, why did it take so long to open a brewpub? It's not like Prohibition ended in 1989.

- I'm not a casino owner and I don't play one on the internet. But if I was a casino owner at say, The Lumiere Casino in St. Louis, I'd change the minimum bets to $5 at blackjack tables on a Thursday afternoon instead of having dealers stand at completely empty tables with higher minimum bids.

- I also won $16 at said casino, so maybe I am the owner now! (This reads better if you say this in an "I'm the captain now" voice.)

So that's it from St. Louis. For more about the Blues-Lightning game, check out, ESPN, and/or the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

You can also click here for the hockey road trip archives.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Friday Video: Starboy

Reason #1324 why I'm not cool: I have no idea what The Weeknd's song Starboy (featuring Daft Punk) is about. What is a starboy? When did the Star Trek movie Wrath of Khan become "Wraith" of Khan? When we talk about The Weeknd are we supposed to bring shade? (Do I have the proper shade in this blog post?) Actually, I think the only thing I think I understand is a drug reference about cleaning pieces of ivory with her face. Of course, I'm probably wrong about this too.

Anyway, I like the song, so here's a video of The Weeknd performing Starboy on Saturday Night Live. While the official video has some bad words, this video does not.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Battle For Metropolis

Metropolis: Home of Superman, the greatest of all of the superheroes. (I'm sure there is plenty of disagreement about this statement, and I'm not qualified to enter any superhero debate. Well, except that I can't believe that there was a Batman v Superman movie when Superman would clearly win this fight. In other news, I did not see this movie.)

Metropolis, Illinois: A place I visited last week between St. Louis and Nashville during my annual hockey. This Metropolis, located next to the Ohio River across from Paducah, Kentucky off Interstate 24, is home to about 6,500 residents. This city has embraced its name (and a Harrah's casino) by erecting this giant Superman statue and opening the Super Museum and Gift Shop.

In case you're wondering the 2017 Superman Celebration is June 8-11. If only they didn't schedule this for the same weekend as Celebrate Fairfax.

Anyway, Superman's best-known rivals are Lex Luthor and probably General Zod. There are other villains in the Superman world including one not mentioned in movies or comic books. Enter Big John.

Located approximately one mile away from the Metropolis Superman statue, Big John is a formidable foe for the Man of Steel. I'm curious if the two figures reached some type of agreement to stay on his side or if there are epic battles that occur between the two when everyone is sleeping. We'll go with the first one.

Look for more posts soon about the St. Louis-Nashville trip.