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!

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 Medium.com

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)!