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!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Video: Green Light

You remember Lorde, right? She's from New Zealand and had a monster hit, Royals, a few years ago that was created after she saw a picture of baseball Hall of Famer, George Brett. Anyway, she's back (in pog form).* Her latest song is Green Light and seems way more upbeat (at least starting around the 35 second mark) than her previous work. I really like the piano in this song. Enjoy.



* Is anyone going to get this 20 year-old reference?

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

How Many States Have You Visited? (Trivia Tuesday)

The Washington Post recently published a story in its Travel section by an author who traveled to all 50 US states. She also mentioned that there is an All Fifty States Club. I really want to join this club. Since the map below counts Washington DC as a state, I have been to 42 states.


I was able to visit many of these states in 1997, when my brother and I went on a road trip, and then I drove from Pittsburgh to San Diego to start a new job (and back to Pittsburgh from San Diego in 1999). I've also been fortunate to visit several states I wouldn't normally go to for work. My honeymoon was in Alaska. I have no idea when I'll be able to visit Hawaii, Montana, Idaho, Kansas, and Arkansas. A trip to North Dakota is possible when my friend and I take our hockey road trip to Winnipeg sometime in the next few years. A summer trip to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont is also a goal for the not-so-distant future.

So how many states have you visited? Please share your answer and any other stories in the comments section below.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Obama's Long Game

Over the weekend, President Trump sent out the following tweet:


Naturally, people went crazy. Trump's supporters called this the biggest overreach in Presidential history. Trump's critics replied that he provided no evidence of this, and said that even if this was true, this would be a Department of Justice investigation, not issued by the Obama administration.

Jon Favreau, President Obama's former speechwriter, replied with this tweet:


Personally, I think Trump has a case here. Obama is well aware of the 22nd Amendment which states that "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once."

Obama ordered the wiretapping knowing that the Justice Department would find something that would lead to Trump's impeachment and subsequent removal. With the executive branch in chaos, somehow the presidential line of succession would disappear. Despite both the House and Senate being under Republican control, Obama knew that this was a way to get around the 22nd Amendment and plans to become President again instead of Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Orrin Hatch (yes, he's third in line to be President), every Cabinet Secretary, and Designated Survivor, Kiefer Sutherland.

You heard it here first.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Trivia Tuesday: Music Quiz

Esquire created a 50-song music quiz that is fun and also somewhat difficult. It's multiple choice but make sure you play this in a place where you can turn up the speakers.

Please share your results in the comments section below. I got a 243 and have no idea how the scoring system works. Good luck!

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!