Friday, October 21, 2016

Random Ramblings

1. It's never good when you get call from my son's elementary school. Earlier this week, I received this message regarding my five year old, The Moose.

This is [school nurse] at the [elementary school] health room and I just wanted to let you know that [The Moose] was here in the health room. He was accidentally hit on his right eye by another student's bottom at recess. He could see without difficulty. There was no redness and he did stay here with me for 20 minutes with ice next to his eye just for comfort. He wasn't upset or anything like that, and I did not see any adverse symptoms, so he did go back to class and just wanted to let you.

I'm not sure why the nurse needed to include that he was hit "by another student's bottom." I think accidentally by another student is sufficient. Adding the bottom part, while funny after hearing that he was fine, seems a bit humiliating.

2. I had big plans for this weekend between coaching my son's soccer game, attending a neighborhood Halloween party, and of course, going to Wegmans. All of these plans are cancelled. Instead I'm going to wait at home for Miley Cyrus to visit and encourage me to vote. When she comes to my door, I plan on playing a Britney or Jay-Z song so that she put her hands up, nods her head like yeah, and moves her hips like yeah.

3. On Thursday, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appeared at the Al Smith charity dinner hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. Just out of curiosity, when do you think the two of them will be at the same place at the same time again? My guess is that it will be at least two years if ever.

4. With apologies to fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the entire country should be rooting for the Chicago Cubs to make the World Series. Instead of non-stop election coverage, every news outlet will cover the Cubs making their fist World Series appearance since 1945 and trying to win for the first time since 1908. Now, I'm completely fine with them losing, especially since Cleveland hasn't won a World Series since 1948, but a long series will be a fantastic distraction from the election.

5. Please like Sean's Ramblings on Facebook. I'm going to apply for media credentials for the Oscars (more on this later), and I probably need more Facebook likes for them to consider my application seriously. I think 50,000 likes should do it!

6. Finally, let's end this week with a video. This is Heathens by Twenty One Pilots from the movie Suicide Squad which I think was a big deal for about a week before leaving theaters pretty quickly. In my opinion, this song has a legitimate chance of getting an Oscar nomination. If that happens, maybe I can ask them questions from the red carpet!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Helping US-Russian Relations

This is an interesting time in US-Russia relations. Things are tense between the two countries in relation to Syria, and it appears that Russia attacked the Democratic National Committee's files (unless it was a 400-pound hacker). However, I'm here to help bridge a gap between our two nations. In the past week, I received two messages from Russian citizens. Here's the first message from Elena:

Good morning,

I am Elena from Petropavlovsk, Russia; an IT specialist by profession and belong to an upper middle class family.

Sorry to interrupt Elena's email, but I had never heard of Petropavlovsk. Based on the picture below, what a beautiful city. It seems so scenic. Plus, if you live in Nome, it appears that Petropavlovsk is closer than Seattle. Okay, back to Elena.

My life is a bit lonely on the personal side and it is largely due to my profession which requires me to spend large amount of my time in the computer labs with techno geeks like myself. Even though I like my job and field much, I don’t have any interest in men from my job profile. Saddest part is that I am able to be only in their company.

Sorry to be stereotypical here, but aren't the majority of IT professionals men? A woman in the IT field could do well at a convention of IT professionals.

So after many trials and errors I came to the conclusion that I will find my love on the internet through online dating and came across this premium dating and friendship website which had its primary aim to make suitable people meet each other with the ultimate outcome of making a family for themselves. I haven’t met my love here yet, but I am fully satisfied with this website as it has given me a chance to meet a lot of people who match my taste and to break my dry spell in match making. Through this website I have made many new friends both girls and men and this has given a lot of relief to my stressful life.

So if you are also in search of a life partner or just a girlfriend or some true friend to confide your feelings with, then join this website by clicking here!!!
(I'm not including a link.) I can assure that you won’t be disappointed. Maybe you will find me here and something might work out between us also!!!

I thought Elena and I had a decent chance of becoming friends, but I don't like sentences ending with also. I should give her the benefit of the doubt though. I mean, I doubt English is her first language.

Here's the second message from Veronica:

Hi Sweetheart,

Well, that's a little forward.

Don’t get confused about why some stranger is calling you like that.

Oh, thanks for clearing this up.

The reason is only the fact that I am desperate to find my sweetheart and love of my life, my future husband with whom I want spend the rest of my life.

Are you the “someone special” that I am looking for? Are you also in search of your love, your future wife?

I'm good thanks, but please continue.

Well many may think that getting acquainted through internet is somewhat risky and not real. But in our fast and busy modern life not many are left with enough time and luck to meet their love spontaneously in their day to day life which has forced most of us are forced to use online dating.

I am Veronica, a sweet and uncomplicated girl from Vladivostok.

My guess is that Veronica is one of a few. I think many girls from Vladivostok are complicated.


Sorry. Back to Veronica.

I am from an upper middle class family, which treasures family values and cultural traditions even while leading our modern sophisticated life.

I think I see a trend among upper middle class Russian women.

I am an Engineer by profession and I bored of solitude and lack of personal happiness. I want to find the perfect man with whom I want to settle in life.

So please click here (removing website again) and join this premium online dating website if you want to find me and thousands of other beautiful ladies and talk with start communicating with us straightaway.

I honestly don't know what to do. If Putin and Clinton or Trump can't get along, it might be up to me to bring us together. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Donald Trump Must Repent

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the Jewish year, begins on Tuesday at sundown. This is a day of prayer, repentance, and self-reflection. There's also no eating or drinking for approximately 25 hours.

Although Republican nominee Donald Trump is not Jewish, he may learn from his daughter and son-in-law to ask for forgiveness on this holy day. Sure, he already apologized for his behavior on the video with Billy Bush before changing the subject and criticizing former President Bill Clinton (who is not running for President) for doing worse, but that's not what this post is about. On Monday, Trump did the unthinkable. Something so outrageous and unbelievable that he will probably lose the Pennsylvania vote because of it. Viewer discretion is advised from Trump's Facebook post.

The horror! The horror! Smiley cookies are delicious treats. You can purchase Smiley cookies from a restaurant called Eat 'N Park. There is no such restaurant called Smiley Cookie. Well, maybe there is but the restaurant pictured is an Eat 'N Park.

My children have been to Eat 'N Park. I'm not sure how I can explain to my kids that someone running for President called Eat 'N Park, Smiley Cookie. I'm sorry but I can't continue with this post. I just hope that Trump does the right thing here. I'm not even sure an apology is enough.

h/t @emilyzikoski

Friday, October 07, 2016

Sean's Fantasy Baseball Championship

I know that you don't care about my fantasy baseball team; however, since this is my blog, I feel the need to document my recent title. Enjoy! (Or skip this post and scroll down to read others.)

After being in the same fantasy/rotisserie baseball league since 1992, I finally won in 2014. I wrote about my historic victory from two years ago and noted that I traded my future to win the championship. It was entirely worth it. (The Pittsburgh Pirates might also want to try this sometime.) In 2015, I went in an entirely different direction. Knowing my team wasn't going to win part way through the season, I traded many assets for cheap keepers. I finished in 11th place out of 12 teams but felt optimistic about the 2016 season.

In the auction league draft this season, I spent big money on Jake Arrieta, Ben Zobrist, Stephen Strasburg, Yasmani Grandal, and Andrew McCutchen. With my team challenging for 1st place, I acquired Ryan Braun and Carlos Gonzalez. Free agent pick-ups of Keon Broxton of the Brewers and Alex Dickerson of the Padres were pleasant surprises. I also got amazing production from holdovers Freddie Freeman, Justin Turner, DJ LeMahieu, Freddy Galvis, Ichiro, Tanner Roark, and Tony Watson. In addition, I really enjoyed watching Jameson Taillon came up from my and the Pirates the farm systems to pitch well.

So now, I've won 2 championships in 3 years and along with 2nd place finishes in 2011 and 2012, that's 4 top-2 finishes in 6 years. Olli Maatta of the Pittsburgh Penguins is also Finnish. In my mind, this is a fantastic run. Considering the amount of time I've spent reviewing baseball box scores, trying to select free agents, and contemplating trades (I probably need to spend more time on draft preparation), I'm quite proud of this accomplishment. This ranks up there with other life accomplishments.

Anyway, thanks for making it all the way through this blog post. Stay tuned for future posts about my new role as soccer coach for my son's U6 team, my long-awaited thoughts on Paw Patrol, and my hope to get media credentials for the 2017 Academy Awards. Yes, really.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Sean's Random Thoughts On The Steelers-Chiefs Game

The Pittsburgh Steelers won big against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, and while you've probably already read everything about the game, here are my random thoughts that you won't see anywhere else.

- The Sunday night game overlapped with the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, which started at sundown. I'm actually surprised that there was no mention of Kansas City offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz being Jewish and playing on Rosh Hashanah. You're probably thinking, well, what's the point of identifying someone's religion? It's not like NBC has the players say their names, colleges (or high schools), and religion.

(In this scenario, would Ike Taylor's swaggin' be appropriate for both the "college" and religion? Would he have to say swaggin' twice or is once enough? Or if he's Baptist would he say "Ike Taylor, Swaggin' (pause) Baptist.")

Anyway, you're also thinking, wait, Al Michaels mentioned that Schwartz left the Cleveland Browns, so that's already a great way for him to celebrate the new year. (Actually, you're probably not thinking about Schwartz at all.) Well yes, but Rosh Hashanah is a big deal. Plus Schwartz and his brother recently published a book about playing in the NFL and their Jewishness, so that could be worthy of a 10-second mention. Based on this Times of Israel article, it's not like he's hiding his religion. Michaels could have said "Happy New Year to Mitchell Schwartz and everyone else celebrating."

- I love the following quote by Michaels later in the telecast: "That time James Harrison, the ageless one at the age of 38, put the heat on."

You can't be ageless and 38! 38 is an age, not ageless.

- Apparently, to demonstrate the intelligence of Chiefs QB Alex Smith, Michaels mentioned that as an economics major at the University of Utah, Smith had a 3.74 GPA. Is there a certain point where you shouldn't discuss someone's GPA? If he's a recent college graduate interviewing for a job, highlighting the GPA is acceptable. However, Smith graduated from college more than 10 years ago!

- Alejandro Villanueva was featured in this USAA commercial. Based on how many commercials he's in lately, I'm still waiting for the version where Antonio Brown appears.

- Speaking of Brown, apparently, he got permission from the NFL to wear cleats honoring the late Arnold Palmer. The NFL needs to do some explaining here. Last year, the league fined DeAngelo Williams for having "Find the Cure" in his eye black in honor of breast cancer awareness and William Gay for wearing purple cleats to show support for domestic violence awareness. Nothing against the great Arnold Palmer, but the league saying that Palmer is more important than these issues. Either have a uniform policy or don't.

- One quick football note. On both of the long touchdown passes to Brown and Darrius Heyward-Bey, the Chiefs defenders went to cover Xavier Grimble. Xavier Grimble is now THE ULTIMATE DECOY!

Happy New Year & Go Steelers!

Sunday, October 02, 2016

L'Shanah Tovah!

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. Now that my five year old (The Moose) is in kindergarten, he can check out books from the school library. The first week, he brought home a book about astronauts. Apparently, since it's late September/early October, he decided to check out this book.

Merry Christmas, I mean, Happy Rosh Hashanah to all those celebrating. Here's to a great 5777!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Fall For Fairfax 2016

One of my favorite events of the year, Fall for Fairfax, is this weekend at the Fairfax County Government Center. This is a terrific event for preschool and elementary school kids. Basically, it's perfect for my 2 year old and 5 year old. Lots of fun activities and performers and it's free! Yes, the carnival rides, food, and some activities cost money, but admission, entertainment, and plenty of other activities (the instrument "petting zoo" is fun) are free.

Here are two videos about the event:

More information is available at the Fall for Fairfax website. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sex Sells

I'm not sure if I learned about the "sex sells" concept of advertising in one of my college marketing classes, in one of the 8 Mad Men episodes I watched, or just through living life. There is certainly debate about the effectiveness of using sex to sell products. Within two months of each other, Business News Daily said yes it helps while Business Insider wrote no. Based on my experience as a consumer, I'll go with the compromise position that sex sells sometimes.

Why am I discussing this today? Well, recently, I received this postcard in the mail from a sports betting website. Please note that I covered up the company website and phone number since I didn't want to provide them free advertising.

Perhaps I should have covered up the woman in the picture too. Based on this ad, am I to believe that if I bet big money on the Tennessee Titans to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars that this woman will be instantly attracted to me? (I mean I get that most women are but I've yet to be approached or propositioned by a woman wearing only football shoulder pads.) I understand that most sports bettors are male, but I tend to doubt that a picture of this woman encourages more people to wager on a Central Michigan-Toledo college football game.

Conversely, I also received the latest catalog for SmartPak Equine. (I'm sure all of you get this too.)

While most of the catalog's pictures feature horses, I'm not sure why, but I think I may need to buy a long-sleeve shirt or new jeans.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Link City

Earlier this week, there was a private event at a Northern Virginia Chick-fil-A for bloggers to preview their new brunch menu. I applied to participate in this event, but the client did not select me. I think that part of the reason is that my Sean's Ramblings Facebook page has less than 40 likes. This number needs to go up. In the next few months, I'm going to apply to be a media member for the 2017 Academy Awards. Sure, I only see 1-2 movies in the theater these days, but wouldn't you like to see me on the red carpet asking Natalie Portman if she'd like to bring her family over to my house for a Passover dinner? I could ask Meryl Streep whether she would want to appear in the next Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. For the Oscars to take my application seriously, I think I need to have at least 100 Facebook likes. I'd probably feel more confident in my chances if that number was closer to 10,000.

Oh, I also probably didn't get selected for the event since it was for "mommy bloggers," and while I write about being a dad, I'm not exclusively a "daddy blogger." [Falls Church Patch]

The word "jagoff" is officially in the Oxford English dictionary. Congrats to John of Ya Jagoff on helping make this happen. [Ya Jagoff]

I am honored to finally have a Tweet worthy of making it on Alex's This Week in Tweets. This is a slight consolation for not getting invited to the Chick-fil-A event. Well, except that I didn't get any free food for this tweet. [Everybody Loves You]

Lowell is a fellow Pittsburgher than now lives in Northern Virginia. He loves Harambe and hates John Cullen. He also has an entertaining Twitter account though many of the posts are R-rates. He's also running in the 6.6K run and family walk, so please donate to his cause supporting the Mario Lemieux foundation. [Lemieux Foundation]

Meat Loaf would do anything for love, but he won't do that (meaning give up fantasy sports). [The Washington Post's DC Sports Bog]

Finally, Emma G busks outside my Metro station once a week nearly every week. She usually does cover songs, and she's really good. It's really a nice way to start the day. She recently performed at The Kennedy Center, but before you watch the video check out her amazing story. [Stuff]

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sofia Vergara: Steelers Fan!

Two years ago, I speculated that Sofia Vergara may become a Steelers fan based on her relationship with Joe Manganiello. From this Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon clip, it seems like Joe is doing everything in his power to convert Sofia to be part of Steeler Nation.

(Getting Big Ben's name wrong is nothing to feel bad about. Why do you think so many broadcasters, reporters, and fellow players refer to him as Big Ben? Much easier than saying or writing Roethlisberger.)

Well done, Joe. Well done!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Remembering Terry

On Friday afternoon, I learned that Terry, a high school classmate and one of my closest friends in junior high, passed away. He and his family took me to Seven Springs where I skied for the first time. I filled in as a substitute on Terry's paper route at times when he was away. I don't think I've ever shared this before, but Terry and I set off fireworks one day, and at one point, a firework exploded by my ear as I was about to throw it. I didn't hear clearly in my right ear for hours, and Terry laughed about how slowly it took me to throw it in some type of exaggerated pitching motion. Terry also attended my Bar Mitzvah, and we had some epic chess matches together.

Besides being friends on Facebook, I probably hadn't talked to Terry in over 20 years. I always find it strange how someone can be such a big part of your life at one point and not at all a part of your life at another time. I guess that's just growing up and growing apart. I don't remember when we stopped hanging out or going different directions, but it must have been at some point in high school. My brother-in-law actually met Terry at a Steeler bar in Atlanta probably 10 years ago. Apparently, Steelers fans or people from Pittsburgh is its own 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon game.

I don't know what happened with Terry, but I have a pretty good guess based on his obituary. My thoughts and prayers truly go out to his friends and family. For me, I'll remember the good times of us being kids since I wasn't there for the bad times. I'll also remember our chess team dominance in Pittsburgh's eastern suburbs which was featured in The Pittsburgh Press.

Rest in peace, Terry.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Brush With Fame

One of my favorite ice-breakers to play when I used to work with college students was a game I called "Brush with Fame." This was a simple game where you would go around the room to introduce yourself and then share a story about some type of celebrity interaction or sighting. I usually shared two stories. The first was Mr. McFeely of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood visiting my kindergarten class. (I also met him in DC about 30 years later.)

The second story occurred at the hotel lobby (I don't remember the name) next to Pittsburgh's Civic Arena during the 1990 NHL All-Star weekend. Wayne Gretzky signed autographs for at least an hour and was very cool about it. Meanwhile, Mario Lemieux ran through the lobby as quickly as possible and signed only a handful of autographs. I'm not at all bitter all these years later that my brother was one of the handful of people that got an autograph. Plus, I still had my Wise potato chips Lemieux poster in my room for many years. Meanwhile, I also brought some hockey cards and may have asked Kirk Muller of the New Jersey Devils to sign his card. Unfortunately, I think I handed him a John MacLean card and he replied, "That's not me."

So why do I bring this up? When I lived in San Diego in the late 90s, I visited Los Angeles several times. I assumed that people see famous folks in LA all the time, but apparently, that wasn't the case. I did have one celebrity sighting though. While waiting for (probably well over an hour for) a table at the extremely popular and trendy restaurant called The Cheesecake Factory, I recognized someone picking up food to go. I tried to overhear the conversation between this guy and the restaurant staff, but I didn't get any significant information. The guy: Teddy from the NBC Saturday morning teen TV show Hang Time.

You may know the character Teddy better by his real name, Anthony Anderson. Anderson received an Emmy nomination for Lead Actor in a Comedy for his role on Black-ish. Whether or not he wins an Emmy this weekend, I can now include Anderson the next time I play Brush With Fame. And Carson Daly.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Steelers-Redskins Recap

With the Pittsburgh Steelers playing their first game of the 2016 season, I'm excited to bring back my semi-regular posts with notes from Steelers games that you won't see anywhere else.

- There was a nice moment before kickoff with members of both teams and military personnel holding the American flag. I'm sure Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder was extremely proud of the gigantic American flag while in Dallas, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones plotted to make an even bigger flag. 

- Washington dominated the first quarter by outgaining the Steelers 253 to 1 in total yards (these numbers may be incorrect but it felt this way). However, the Redskins only led 6-0 after failing to get into the end zone. I have to admit that I felt pretty good because I figured that the Steelers played pretty bad only to be one touchdown away from taking the lead (which is what they did).

- If you're the best corner in the game (Josh Norman), you should be able to blanket the best wide receivers like Antonio Brown. Why do you need to stay on one side of the field? Sure, Norman can boast that he Brown didn't do much against him, yet what difference does that make when your team loses by 22 and Antonio has 8 catches for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns?

- The best commercial on television is Ice T at a lemonade stand. I may switch to Geico just because of this commercial.

Conversely, Burger King's Cheetos chicken fries sound awful (though I really want Cheetos right now).

- ESPN's Jon Gruden provided my quote of the game when discussing Cameron Heyward. "He can go hard for a long period of time."
13 year old Sean smiled at this. Okay, 41 year old Sean smiled at this too.

Runner-up: ESPN's Sean McDonough on Steelers linebacker James Harrison: "The ageless linebacker is now 38 years old." 38 isn't ageless, it's 38.

Honorable mention: Gruden again. "I hope Le'Veon Bell is watching this game." There wasn't really any context to this other than Deangelo Williams playing well. Maybe ESPN was counting on a ratings boost from Bell watching the game

- The Steelers were 2 for 2 on 4th and 1 situations including Roethlisberger's 29-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown and were also successful on 3rd and short situations. I feel like Washington's defensive coordinator is going to have nightmares about 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1 all week.

- Besides being partially responsible for Roethlisberger's interception, I thought Eli Rogers looked good (6 catches, 59 yards and a TD in the 1st half) in his NFL debut. I'm sure that someone already created a Mr. Rogers Neighborhood shirt in his honor. Maybe Doug?

- Although he ended up underperforming as a first round draft pick, it's nice to see Ziggy Hood still in the league. I know this Ziggy was happy to see him. 

- You'd like to see the Steelers have more than, um, zero sacks, but they did a nice job of holding a team that was one of the best in the league during the second half of the 2015 season to only 16 points.

- The Washington Post's DC Sports Bog has some great stuff about the game too.

Congrats to the Steelers on the big win! Almost as importantly, my colleague now needs to wear a Steelers tie at an organization meeting or holiday party. If the Redskins won, I would have had to wear an ugly burgundy and gold tie. Everybody dance now!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Todd Haley Is Wrong*

On Thursday, Dustin Dopirak of DK Pittsburgh Sports (subscription required) wrote an article about Todd Haley and Keith Butler, offensive and defensive coordinators of the Pittsburgh Steelers respectively, discussing Monday night's football game against the Washington Redskins. This part of the article jumped out to me:

[Haley] said road environments make it more difficult to run the no-huddle, but said that doesn’t mean the Steelers won’t do it.

“There’s a lot of factors that go into it,” Haley said. “That’s one of them, at times. I believe in our group. Last year at Seattle, I thought we went out there and had a very good operation. That was a big test for us. We’ve challenged the guys to be able to handle any environment and go out and run our offense. It will definitely be loud there.”

Ha! Haley obviously wasn't with the Steelers the last time the team played in Washington in November 2008. During that game, Washington was forced to use a silent count - AT HOME - because of the crowd noise by Steelers fans.

DC area media are already discussing the amount of black and gold that will be at the game. Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic wrote that he "will not be surprised if somewhere from a fourth (about 20,000) to a third (around 26,000) of the fans in attendance are pulling for the visiting team." He's probably about right, but not because of many Steelers fans driving in from Western Pennsylvania. Instead, it's the thousands of Steelers fans that live in the DC-Baltimore Metro area.

I would write that I'm excited to part of the Steelers fans at FedEx Field, but it's a pain to get to and tickets are expensive. And it's a school night. Go Steelers!

* The original title of this post was Todd Haley Is On Drugs. However, seeing that Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant have both been suspended because of drugs, Todd Haley is probably not on drugs.