Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sean's 2017 Oscars Picks

Since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences denied my request for media credentials for this year's Oscars, I considered boycotting the festivities. Instead, I'm using this for motivation so that the Academy will not only accept my application in the future, but actually invite me to be at the ceremony. Despite only seeing a couple of movies in the theater last year, here are the correct picks for who will win on Sunday night.

Best Picture: La La Land

A movie celebrating Hollywood? Of course this will win.

Actor in a Leading Role: Denzel Washington, Fences

Casey Affleck was the early favorite, but there are allegations of sexual assault against him. The Academy doesn't want to celebrate him, so they'll give the award to Denzel.

By the way, if Affleck does win, does Minnie Driver (who is terrific in the TV show Speechless) trash her home or hotel room since she will be the only major character of Good Will Hunting without an Oscar?

Actress in a Leading Role: Emma Stone, La La Land

Everyone loves Emma Stone. She dances, she's funny, and she previously received a nomination for Birdman, meaning that the Academy feels that she "paid her dues."

Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

When LL Cool J remakes Mama Said Knock You Out, he's going to change the line to:
Just like Mahershala Ali
They called him Cassius

Actress in a Supporting Role: Viola Davis, Fences

She's really good.

Animated Feature Film: Zootopia

This was one of the biggest grossing films of 2016 and was really good.

Directing: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

I saw Whiplash last year, so give him Chazelle the award for that.

Documentary (Feature): O.J.: Made in America

I wrote about this already. Even though this really is a TV show rather than a movie, this was amazing.

Foreign Language Film: The Salesman (Iran)

As soon as Trump instituted the travel ban that would prevent anyone from Iran, including the director of this film, from flying to the US, you knew he would win.

Music (Original Song): How Far I'll Go from Moana

The two songs from La La Land will cancel each other out, and the Academy will help Lin-Manuel Miranda get closer to his EGOT.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Moonlight

Everything I hear is that this film should win the Oscar for best picture. This is the consolation prize.

Writing (Original Screenplay): La La Land

This is La La Land's night.

Essentially, I told you win so you don't have to watch now. (Well, unless you want to see the speeches.) Of course, don't tell the Academy this or they may rescind my invitation!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Random Fatherhood Ramblings (& More)

* You know how I spent the holiday weekend? Taking my 2 year old (Pedro Tulo) to the bathroom every 15-30 minutes or so. We are in full potty training mode with him wearing underwear, and honestly, I'm scared to take him too far from the house in case he has an accident. After the first 10 days or so, it seems to be going okay, but there is no consistency. It would be fantastic if he could tell us when he needs to go potty rather telling us that "he's wet" immediately after doing his business no where near the toilet.

* Staying on the subject of toilets, Pedro Tulo put both his and his brother's toothbrushes in the toilet this weekend and flushed them before we could stop him. I was able to recover one toothbrush, and I just hope that the other one made it through the pipes without incident. I really don't want to call a plumber over this. Oh, this was the conversation after I found the first toothbrush.

Me: I was able to find one.
My five year old (The Moose): What color is it?
Me: Pink.
The Moose (excitedly): That's mine.
Me: Yes, but you're not using it anymore.

* Meanwhile, The Moose celebrated the 100th day of the school year on Tuesday. He is convinced that he graduated from kindergarten and will begin 1st grade on Wednesday.

* My high school classmate Ramon is an artist and art teacher and is a finalist for the 2017 Pittsburgh Marathon poster design. Please vote for him/his poster here!

* My friend Sarah of Smart Bitches Trashy Books was recently on CBS Sunday Morning discussing romance novels. Check out the 5-minute video at the CBS website.

* Finally, two links from my friend Rob

Former Pittsburgh Penguin Jim Paek is now the coach of the South Korean hockey team. [CBC]

* I want this jersey. [Yahoo]

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sean's 2017 Grammy Awards Recap

I promised that I wasn't going to write about the Grammys this year. I just didn't have the time. Then I started watching the ceremony, and this happened:

* Ed Sheeran performed his new song. The Weeknd performed his new song. Beyoncé had a new song(?)/spoken word performance that has never been seen before. Meanwhile, Adele opened the show by performing Hello, a song that has been out for well over a year.

* Do the Daft Punk guys ever get tired of wearing this outfit?

At some point, you'd think they would want to come out on stage wearing a T-shirt and jeans and maybe a Sia wig.

* I've head The Weeknd's new song on the radio a few times and really thought it was a new Michael Jackson song that was recorded before his death and only released now.

* If you were going up against David Bowie in any category, you knew you were going to lose, right?

* It's a good thing that Chance The Rapper has had a successful music career. It would be odd for him to answer phone calls and reply to e-mails as Chance The Rapper if he worked as an accountant or plumber. Of course, in that case, maybe he would change his name to Chance The Accountant or Chance The Plumber.

* 21 Pilots said that they watched the Grammys several years ago and pledged that they would accept a Grammy award in their underwear if they ever won. Is it common for groups of teenage/millennial males to sit around watching television in their underwear?

* My next door neighbor in college played Award Tour by A Tribe Called Quest all the time. It was great to hear the song (well part of the song) performed live.

* John Legend and Chrissy Teigen must have an amazing babysitter. They regularly appear at award shows and functions, and I doubt the baby travels with them.

* Meanwhile, apparently Jay-Z and Beyoncé couldn't find a babysitter on Sunday, so they just brought their daughter Blue Ivy to the Grammys. Personally, I would have loved for there have been a separate TV station simply showing Jay-Z and Blue Ivy (and Beyoncé though she was on stage or backstage for a significant part of the show). For example, let's see if Blue Ivy has a meltdown when she discovers that Jay-Z forgot to pack an applesauce. Or, what is Jay-Z's reaction when the kid asks for Goldfish but then decides that it's more fun to throw them instead of eat the snack? Are random people coming up to Blue Ivy telling her that she's cute? Jay-Z probably doesn't want random people coming up to his daughter.

* James Brown was known as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. Someone needs to give Lady Gaga the Hardest Working Woman in Show Business title. After an impressive Super Bowl halftime show where she ran all over the stage, she had less than a week to prepare for a Grammy performance with Metallica.

* Compare that to the Carpool Karaoke bit. John Legend and Faith Hill clearly didn't know the words to Sweet Caroline. Practice for 10 minutes, particularly when you know you're going to sing with Neil Diamond!

And with that, goodbye from the other side.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Random Ramblings: February 2017 Edition

I learned that my high school English teacher from my senior year passed away. She hated me and the feeling was mutual as she was really mean. However, I probably became a better student and writer because of her.

CBS picked up a pilot for the comedy Distefano by the creators of How I Met Your Mother. I'm amazed that there will be a television show about former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder, Benny Distefano. [Hollywood Reporter]

While this home is on the market for $250 million, I think I'd like to make an offer of $2 million to start the negotiations. (I don't really need the cars valued at $30 million since I already have a 2003 Honda.) I also don't have an extra $2 million sitting around, but with a house so big, I figure that I can get about 20-30 friends to go in with me, and we can split the house. I might even be willing to go up to $2.5 million. [LA Times]

The Candy Room is a nice touch.

My son (The Moose) might be a meteorologist when he grows up. One of his favorite things to do is check the weather on my phone. He will type in random letters to see what temperatures are in random cities. For example, did you know that it is going to be 93 in Halfayat Al Muluk (Sudan) and 81 in M'mbulu (Malawi) on Thursday?

Fatima Al Ali, a member of United Arab Emirates' women’s hockey team, got to practice with the Washington Capitals. While I don't like the team (Caps fans say the same thing about the Penguins), this is really cool. [Puck Daddy]

Finally, this is also very cool.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Blog Log Name Mystery

I've read (and written about) Express, a publication of The Washington Post, for many, many years now. This free newspaper distributed at Metro stations throughout the DC region is a nice way to start the day as I can read about what's going on in the world and local area in about 15 minutes. Plus, reading Express is a great way to avoid making any type of eye contact with people on the train. Near the end of the publication is a section titled "Blog Log," which originally captured comments and topics by blogs. Express even quoted my blog on several occasions, and I can honestly say that one of my coolest experiences in writing this blog over the past 12 years has been seeing my text quoted in a newspaper on the way to work.

Anyway, Blog Log morphed over the years to include content from Twitter. This led me to the purpose of this blog post. Despite being called Blog Log, it seemed to me that Express never quotes blogs anymore. I decided to test my theory by taking a look at all of the Blog Logs from January 3, 2017 through February 3, 2017. During this time, Blog Log quoted 113 topics from the web. Here's a breakdown of the sources of these topics:

98 - Twitter
5 - Facebook comments
2 - Commenters on the Huffington Post
2 - Commenters on The Washington Post
1 - Commenter on Slate
1 - Commenter on Instagram
1 - Commenter on Reddit
1 - Commenter on Jezebel
1 - Commenter on US Weekly
1 - Commenter at

So during the first month of 2017, Express shared exactly zero blog posts in Blog Log. Therefore, I believe it's time for Express to make a decision.

1. Start quoting blogs in Blog Log again or

2. Retire this Blog Log name and replace it with Twitter Takes or something else

I understand that there's a lot going on in the world and focusing on the Blog Log name seems a bit absurd. Yet, this is my crusade. So I'm calling on Express and The Washington Post to do the right thing. Give bloggers a voice or stop the charade of pretending to highlight content of bloggers.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Sean Analyzes Current Song Lyrics (With 80s Movies!)

Welcome to a brand new edition of Sean analyzing current song lyrics. The songs below are all near the top of the charts and all used lyrics that are inspired by 80s movies.

Zayn and Taylor Swift - I Don't Want To Live Forever

I don’t wanna live forever
‘Cause I know I’ll be living in vain
And I don’t wanna fit wherever
I just wanna keep calling your name, until you come back home

I picture Zayn just sitting on a couch saying "Taylor" over and over again until she returns home. Just like this:

Ariana Grande featuring Nicki Minaj - Side to Side

I'm talkin' to ya
See you standing over there with your body

Standing over there with your body? Someone watched Weekend at Bernie's recently!

Hailee Steinfeld - Starving

I didn't know that I was starving till I tasted you

This is exactly how it started for one Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

Please click here to see past editions of Sean Analyzes Song Lyrics.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Random Ramblings

I had big plans to write about Steelers-Patriots AFC Championship game earlier this week, but based on the results, I didn't really feel like it. Instead, I thought it was about time to share my random thoughts on a variety of topics.

1. I'll start with the Patriots-Steelers game, but not the game itself. The CBS telecast showed Jon Bon Jovi several times during the game hanging out in the Patriots owner's box. What the heck? Bon Jovi is a proud New Jersey resident and owned an arena football league team in Philly. Now he's a Patriots fan? Again, what the heck?

2. I'm okay with Donald Trump building a wall along the United States-Mexico border with several caveats. First, I don't want to see one continuous Great Wall of China style wall along the border. That would just look bad and probably isn't possible based on the terrain. Plus, does the border patrol really need one, 2,000 mile wall? More importantly, paying $12 billion is an insane figure to build a wall. Money can be spent better for so many other purposes. Finally, imposing a 20% tariff on Mexican goods to pay for the wall just isn't realistic. That would only increase the cost for consumers (that's us Americans!) on cars, oil, electronics, vegetables, and more. So why am I for building a wall? Public works! During the Great Depression, the Tennessee Valley Authority (one of many projects during the New Deal) provided jobs and gave the region electricity. Maybe building a wall will on the Mexican border will also improve Wi-Fi in rural Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. So, Trump should want to build a wall on the Canadian border too. Bring jobs to Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Michigan, Montana, etc. While we're at it, let's build levees or retaining walls (or something) along the entire Eastern seaboard. Trump wants to be the jobs president, right? Public works!

3. I'm amazed at the success of the song Closer by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey. Who would have thought a song about Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, and Mark Melancon would have been at the top of the charts for so long in 2016 and now into 2017.

4. My friend Rob wanted me to pass on this ESPN story identifying former Ohio State players as the best rookie class in NFL history. He admitted that he agrees with the article but is also biased.

Enjoy your Friday!

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.