Monday, October 05, 2015

The Jake Arrieta Tweet

On Sunday, Chicago Cubs pitcher and possible 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta replied to a Tweet by a parody account.

Naturally, Cubs and Pirates fans went crazy. Cubs fans supported their ace as Pirates fans treated Arrieta as a villain. As a Pirates fan, time to pile on!

Jake - You've had an amazing season. You may even win on Wednesday night. However, do you really need to trash talk? Let's look a little closer.

If you're so good, why are you only making $3,630,000? That may seem like a lot of money (because it is), but that's significantly less than these other Cubs pitchers: Trevor Cahill, Jason Hammel, Dan Haren, Tommy Hunger, Jon Lester, Fernando Rodney, Tsuyoshi Wada and Travis Wood.

Before joining the Cubs in July 2013, you were 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA. That's not good. Any chance you might revert back to your Baltimore Orioles form on Wednesday? (Probably not.)

Let's take a look at your post-season record. Oh, you've never been in the postseason. So all of a sudden you're going to become Madison Bumgarner? First playoff game in your career, and it will be at a rocking PNC Park. You might be a little nervous or over-excited.

Most importantly, look at your jersey. You are on the Chicago Cubs. Are you aware of the team's history? The team's last World Series Championship was in 1908. 1908! Maybe hold off on the trash talk a bit until you do something.

Again, maybe you'll win on Wednesday. The Cubs are favored due to Arrieta's dominance this year. However, act like you've been there before. Act is the key word though since you haven't actually been there before.

Let's Go Bucs!

Friday, October 02, 2015

Friday Video

I've been meaning to post Elle King's Ex's and Oh's for weeks now since it's a really good song. Well, today is that day.

One of the ways to look at this song is that Elle King thinks of herself as all that and a bag of chips. By the way, why don't we use this expression anymore? Is it because chips aren't that exciting? If we're talking pretzels, I'm in. Cool Ranch Doritos, definitely. BBQ Fritos, oh yes. Plain old potato chips, nope.

Enjoy the song and your Friday!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Fall For Fairfax KidsFest 2015

One of my favorite events of the year, the Fall for Fairfax KidsFest, takes place this weekend (Saturday, 10/3 & Sunday, 10/4) at the Fairfax County Government Center. This free event is a huge hit for my kids. Well, one kid. My younger son (Pedro Tulo) was only six months old last year, so I'm not sure of his opinion of this festival. Anyway, this truly is the perfect event for elementary and pre-K kids. You can read much more about Fall for Fairfax on its website.

Of course, the giant elephant in the room on the internet is the heavy rain expected on Friday and Hurricane Joaquin (Phoenix) which could cause major problems in the DC area (and beyond) this weekend. I know how hard the staff and volunteers of Fall for Fairfax work, so for the event to get impacted by weather would truly be a shame. With that written, wear some clothes and shoes that you don't mind getting wet and dirty and take advantage of possible shorter lines and smaller crowds because of people who may be scared of the rain. I mean, it's not like it never rains in Northern Virginia!

Here are the basic details about the festival:

WHERE - On the grounds of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035. Plenty of FREE parking is available. Follow signs to visitor parking upon arrival.

WHEN - Saturday, October 3rd from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. & Sunday, October 4th from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

WHAT - 2 stages of FREE entertainment including the Innovation Health Kids Stage, and the Cox Community Stage. FREE to attend! Discount ride tickets for the KidWay MidWay are available by clicking here. Activities include scarecrow making*, pumpkin painting*, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides*, petting zoo, model trains, instrument petting zoo, and the KidWay MidWay* (with more than a dozen rides and attractions). Plus more than 75 exhibits, activities and great festival food!

*Indicates program fee applies

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Interview With Dr. Christopher Geary About Big Ben's Injury

Mark Barron of the St. Louis Rams sacked Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday afternoon causing Big Ben to go down and Steeler Nation to go into complete panic mode. Around the time that Roethlisberger was carted off the field, I saw this tweet from Dr. Christopher Geary, Orthopedic Surgeon and Chief of Sports Medicine at Tufts University Medical Center.

While Roethlisberger has an MCL injury to his left knee, multiple reports suggest that the franchise QB will miss approximately 6 weeks, a big difference than being out for the season. Therefore, I reached out to Dr. Geary for his thoughts on the initial tweet and the Big Ben's current diagnosis.

Please tell me and my readers about yourself. How did you get into medicine and decide on your specialty?

I kind of always figured I would go into orthopedics and I really enjoyed it in medical school. And I had played sports my whole life (including playing rugby right through medical school), so sports medicine was a natural choice for me.

You made some waves on Twitter on Sunday by writing that Ben Roethlisberger's season was over. How did you come to this assessment?

Is it difficult to make a medical diagnosis by seeing an injury on television?

At Monday's press conference, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said that there is no timetable for Big Ben's return; however, many sources estimate that he will miss 4-6 weeks. Any new thoughts about this based on your initial tweet?
(Sean's note: I combined all of these questions together since Dr. Geary provided this response to all three questions at once.)

As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and also a huge sports fan (mostly Boston, obviously), I watch games for enjoyment but I can't help but be on the lookout for injuries as they happen. Making diagnoses based on what you see on TV is fraught with difficulty - I was actually watching the replays of Roethlisberger's injury on an 8-inch screen while riding an exercise bike at a hotel gym - but you can usually get something of an idea based on the mechanism of injury and the player/trainers reactions.

My initial tweet about his injury was to Scott Zolak, and I actually referenced a bad MCL injury as my first thought but obviously my subsequent tweets got more play. My thoughts were that if he had an ACL/MCL or a fibula fracture that his season would be over - thankfully for the Steelers this isn't the case. It's tough to say when he will be back - it could be anywhere from 4-8 weeks based on what I have seen in my patients. It will depend on how quickly he is able to move without pain and regain his range of motion - MCL injuries do tend to get stiff. He has the advantage of having a great training staff available to work with him every day, so his recovery may be on the short end.

In looking at your timeline, I didn't see any tweets from you to Scott Zolak, only the one that stated "Most likely an ACL/MCL for Roethlisberger-other possibility is a high fibula fracture w/ syndesmosis injury. Either way, season over."

You're right - I went back and checked and that Tweet either never went through or got deleted. It did exist at some point, though - you'll have to take my word on that even though I'm a Pats fan...

I really appreciate Dr. Geary's quick responses to my questions. We both spent time in San Diego (Dr. Geary mentioned that "San Diego was amazing" and that he "would move back there in a heartbeat if it wasn't so damn expensive." I agree!) and are obviously sports fans. He also was a good sport about this question.

Finally, your Twitter profile picture shows you shirtless. Does this make you the Dr. McDreamy of Tufts Medical Center?

I hate Grey's Anatomy.

Please make sure to follow Dr. Geary on Twitter and you can see his complete bio on the Tufts Medical Center website.

Monday, September 28, 2015

My First Season In The LearnedLeague

I finished my first season in the LearnedLeague and it went as I expected...sort of. I expected to be overmatched and ended up finishing 25th out of 30 in my division, but I did not plan on losing 11 straight matches to end the season. I feel like I deserved a slightly better fate though. I talked myself out of several correct answers (see below), but overall, I got a little unlucky. Of the 30 members of my division, I was 19th in total correct answers. Not great, but not terrible either. My big problem was that I had the hardest strength of schedule in terms of Correct Answered Allowed. My opponents answered more questions correctly against me than anyone else in my division. It also didn't help that I had the 4th "Most Common Wrong Answers" in the division, meaning that I was in the right ballpark (though still wrong) with many of my answers.

Before I proceed, a quick explanation of The LearnedLeague. This is the trivia league of trivia leagues. Ken Jennings is in this league (naturally in an A division), but finished 20th of 26 in that division. The LearnedLeague is played in 25-match seasons, where players compete against one another head-to-head. Each match consists of 6 questions. Besides trying to answer them correctly, you also assign a point value to each question: 3, 2, 2, 1, 1, 0. That is the number of points your opponent gets for correctly answering the questions. The winner of the match is the player who scores the most points. I actually did a good job defensively. Not quite the Steel Curtain defense of the 70s but perhaps at a Greg Lloyd-Kevin Greene level.

Back to me, I've found that I definitely have my strong and weak categories. I was 5 out of 5 in business/economics questions (I guess my International Business minor is finally paying off), 8 of 10 in pop music, 3 of 4 in current events and 4 of 6 in American history. Conversely, I did terribly in literature (3 of 13), geography (3 of 13), science (3 of 16; why are there so many freaking science questions!?!?), 1 of 8 in art (I dominated the Andy Warhol question), 1 of 11 in food/drink and 1 of 12 in world history. That's a lot of bad there. Basically, if there's a question about pop culture, including sports (though I don't understand how I got a 4 of 10 in television), I'm in decent shape. Anything else (especially science), my opponents should feel comfortable assigning me 2 or 3 points.

So now, I'm going to participate in some mini-leagues about college football and 80s pop music until the next season begins in November. I expect to do better in these specific leagues than the next regular season where I'll be in an E division. I feel like I could become an E division regular, particularly since there's not an "F" division, with some potential to get promotion into a D division with some luck. I'm never getting to the A or B divisions, but I've found the competition and the trivia a nice way to start the day. Plus, I think I could break a record for most consecutive losses!

Here are examples of when I out-smarted myself.

What is the common medical term for the mass of lymphoid tissue, considered vestigial in adults, that is sometimes referred to as pharyngeal tonsils?

My son had his adenoids out last year, so my thought was that it couldn't be adenoids since some of these terms would be familiar. I went with goiter since I thought that was in the tonsils ballpark. The answer was adenoids.

While it sometimes includes all modernist painters between the two World Wars, the "School of" this city is a term typically applied by art historians to a certain group known as les maudits, including Amedeo Modigliani, Marc Chagall, Chaim Soutine, and Jules Pascin. Name the city.

I thought Chagall spent time in Paris and figured "les maudits" was French, but Paris seemed to be too easy of an answer. I went with Marseille. The answer was Paris.

Don't forget that you can always like Sean's Ramblings on Facebook. You know you want to!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

TMI Thursday: Becoming A Sperm Donor

Let me preface this blog post by writing that the content is PG-13. It may even be PG. Sorry if this disappoints you.

Earlier this week, I received a flyer on my car to become a sperm donor. Let's look at the qualifications required to help others "to build happy healthy families."

1. Are healthy.

Check. I still work as a soccer referee, ran a 5K in under 30 minutes earlier this year without training and walk up the Metro escalator daily.

2. Have earned or are pursing a college degree.

Masters degree here, bitches. (Yes, using bitches might move this to a PG-13 post.)

3. Want infectious and genetic disease screening and physicals at no cost.

I think I'm good here but okay.

4. Want to be compensated up o $4,000 in six months.

Extra money is always good.

5. Want to help people by donating once a week, for less than 1 hour.

Wait, what? This isn't a one-time deal. By the way, they are asking me to donate my time or money once a week, right? RIGHT?

6. Age 18-39.

Even though I'm 40 (I'm a man, I'm 40!), apparently, I'm too old to be a donor. Oh well. The dream is over.

If you want to see some old-fashioned TMI Thursdays, feel free to click here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Asking For Forgiveness

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins on Tuesday evening. I'll spend much of the Tuesday evening and Wednesday at synagogue praying for forgiveness while also trying not to think about the fact that I'm not eating or drinking. However, another important part of this holiday is asking those you have wronged over the past year for forgiveness. While I still need to contact several people, in looking at my blog posts, I think there's some atoning I have to do.

I apologize to Chicago Cubs OF Chris Coghlan for essentially calling him a racist. That wasn't fair. He might be a dirty baseball player, but I crossed the line.

I'm sorry for criticizing the grammar used by Dale Lolley, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat reporter for the Observer-Reporter of Washington (PA)

I'm sorry for using Sir Mix-a-Lot's Baby Got Back to describe the 2015 Pittsburgh Penguins draft class.

I'm sorry for making fun of Parents Magazine. I may even read one of the last two or three editions that are sitting in a pile under the newspapers.

I'm sorry that we didn't get Jagoff in the dictionary. That would have been cool.

I'm definitely not sorry for winning free burritos for a year again. They are quite tasty.

I'm sorry for criticizing how Peyton Manning dresses. I mean, you would think with the amount of money he makes, he could dress better. I'm going on a tangent here. Sorry for the tangent and sorry Peyton.

For those of you observing Yom Kippur, have an easy and meaningful fast and day. Now, do I need to look at my Twitter posts from the past year to see what I wrote there?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chris Coghlan Hates Asians

Let me preface this blog post by writing that this title is (probably) not true. I'm just a little upset that Chicago Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan ended Jung Ho Kang's season by a dirty slide.

On May 24, 2009, Chris Coghlan, then of the Florida Marlins attempted to break up a double play by sliding hard into second base and into Tampa Bay Devil Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura. Iwamura, from Japan, was injured as a result of Coghlan's slide and did not return to the major leagues until the end of August, more than three months later.

On Thursday, Coghlan again attempted to break up a double play but instead slid right into Kang resulting in the South Korean infielder suffering a torn left MCL and fractured tibia. Kang, a major part of the Pirates success this season and friend of K-Pop star Hyomin, is now out for the season.

So is it a coincidence that Coghlan has now significantly injured two of the few infielders born in Asia? Does Coghlan have something against players from Japan and South Korea (and possibly China, Indonesia, and others)?

I guess we'll let Commissioner Rob Manfred decide.

Car Rant

My 2003 Honda Civic is slowly falling apart. While the car runs fine overall, it's the little things that are adding up. The passenger side rear window hasn't opened in a few years. Last month, my driver's side window stopped working. You can hear the power window mechanism trying to work but the window doesn't move. While this usually doesn't bother me, it's quite awkward to open the car door to enter and exit parking garages. (Fortunately, I haven't gone to a drive-through in my car yet.) However, this inconvenience is not enough to spend $500 to fix this. I miss my Plymouth Acclaim where I could roll down the window.

Now, I have a bigger problem. The airbag light now appears and stays lit on my dashboard. I took the car to the local Honda dealership on Wednesday to determine the issue. A little later in the morning, I received a call from the service department informing me that the airbag is fine (there was actually a Honda recall on this earlier this year) and that the issue is the seat belt buckle switch. The cost to repair this: $545. I declined the repair.

However, I still needed to pay $132 for the diagnostic. Um, what? I did not get this quote when I left the dealership. After some complaining, the representative said that he would help me out. So when I arrived back at the dealership in the afternoon, I learned that I had to pay $112 instead. The staff seemed to feel like I got an amazing deal by having this diagnostic charge reduced by $20. Without much of a choice, I paid the $112 and left. Oh, I also learned that Honda used to replace this at no cost, but apparently, changed their policy a few years ago. If the problem was mechanical, they would repair the airbag stuff for no change. Any electrical issues, though, would need to be paid by the customer. Great.

Finally, it sounds like my car won't pass the state inspection in December with this light on. Wonderful. So I'm going to need to put about $400-$500 into a 12 year-old car (or more if I choose to fix the window) or face the decision to try to sell the car if it fails inspection. Ugh.

By the way, considering that the car is over 12 years old, 118,000 miles really isn't that much. It's still a good car. Well, don't be surprised if I try to sell this car on Sean's Ramblings later this year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Happy Rosh Hashanah (From Asics?)

I saw this Asics commercial on Tuesday night which seemed extremely appropriate since Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, also concluded on Tuesday evening.

Yes, the guy in the Asics commercial is blowing a shofar. Sure, a shofar is traditionally blown during Rosh Hashanah services, but I guess it could also be a call to action to run up a mountain. Tekiah Gedolah!

So on behalf of everyone here at Sean's Ramblings, Happy New Year!

P.S. It appears that this commercial has been around for months. I just saw it for the first time on Tuesday.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hyomin Throws Out First Pitch At Pittsburgh Pirates Game

On Sunday, Hyomin, the lead singer of the K-Pop group T-ara, will throw out the first pitch at the Pittsburgh Pirates-Milwaukee Brewers game at PNC Park. I know that you're all big fans of Korean pop music, but in case you're not familiar with Hyomin and T-ara, I asked my Korean correspondent Christine if she knew of T-ara.

Yes, I have heard of T-ara - they were on the K-Pop news quite a bit before their "comeback" this summer and I think a current hit is "So Crazy". It doesn't surprise me that Hyomin would be sending out the first pitch somewhere. South Koreans love baseball (attending one of the games there was sooo much fun) and K-Pop itself is one of the cultural aspects that Korea has made major efforts to export.

Thanks to the power of YouTube, here is T-ara's "So Crazy."

I'm sure that this video reflects commentary on the role of the military and perhaps the privilege of power. Or the director wanted the members of T-ara to dress in cute, little sailor outfits.

Anyway, so why is Hyomin flying probably over 15 hours to throw out the first pitch at a Pirates game? The answer: Jaff Decker Jung Ho Kang. According to allkpop, a website I read daily, Hyomin is friends with Kang. That's quite a long trip to visit a "friend." Even if there is no romantic connection here, I'm sure that Hyomin hanging out with Kang, who maintains a massive following in South Korea, will be good PR for her and her career. Oh, and here's a picture of Hyomin from that allkpop article.

Update: This is proof of Hyomin throwing out the first pitch at PNC Park.

Does South Korea follow the same fashion policy about not wearing white after Labor Day? Anyway, since the Pirates won today, I think we need to start a petition to have Hyomin or another member of T-ara to throw out the first pitch at every Pirates game for the rest of the season and playoffs!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Shy Guy

Do you remember the 90s song Shy Guy by Diana King? The answer is probably no, and even though I consider myself an aficionado of 90s pop music, I still had to look up who sings this song.

Anyway, either Diana Guy lives in Northern Virginia or someone who REALLY, REALLY likes this song does and drives a Hyundai.

Now, I want to find the person who has a Fry Guy license plate!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Creepy or Awkward?

We went to a birthday party at a park on Sunday, and as we were leaving, I noticed that a youth group that I was involved in during high school was setting up in a nearby pavilion.* I approached one of the girls, who was probably about 16, and had the following conversation:

Me: Are you with the [Youth Group name]?

Her: Yes.

Me: I was in [Youth Group name] too when I was in high school. I probably attended the [youth group camp name] before you were born.


Me: Well, good luck with the event today.

Her: Thanks.

About 7 seconds later out of earshot from the teenager

My wife: You were being creepy there.

Me: I wouldn't say creepy. Since I'm holding [my one year-old son], I'd say that it was more awkward.

We continued to walk towards the exit and saw a few more members of the group.

My wife: Don't say anything to them.

Me: Okay

So creepy that a 40 year-old guy tried to strike up a conversation with a high school girl that was in the same youth group as me (though 20+ years apart) or just awkward since I was carrying my toddler which means that I'm a (hopefully) respectable father (meaning not creepy)?

* There was also a soccer tournament going on in the park, and I was (and still am) appalled by how the adult referees were dressed. Shirts untucked. Plain white socks. Totally unprofessional.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Links

- In honor of Josh of Josh's World getting married, he asked several bloggers to write guest posts while he is away on his honeymoon. I guess this serves as a better gift than towels. Anyway, here are the posts:

- Are You Married or Happy by Nicky D.
- Cards of Love by Alex
- A Piece of Cake by me.

- Check out this amazing goal by Marco Matias of my favorite British soccer team, Sheffield Wednesday.

- A cool story about the Biloxi Shuckers, a minor league baseball team that had a 54-game, 2800-mile road trip. [ESPN]

- Did you know the Steelers have a team chaplain? Did you know his name is Ocho Cinco? Well, actually it's Chad Johnson, but not that Chad Johnson. Here's a fun quote for those of you upset about the Steelers signing Michael Vick.

Winning is important and the NFL is a business, but the Steelers have values beyond that. "It is part of the Steelers' core values. Coach Tomlin is such a phenomenal person beyond football and such a caring man. He is about the business in raising young men. That is the rarity in him. He really cares about these guys beyond football and they can feel that." Johnson said. Johnson's work is an extension of the Steelers mission.

"We care about people. It is not just a mantra or slogan or idea in theory," he said. "This is a service-oriented organization."
[Behind the Steel Curtain]

- Congratulations to Ithaca College on being named one of the 25 healthiest colleges in the U.S. Clearly this is a recent ranking as there is no mention of people eating Rogan's pizza 2-3 times a week (or everyday during Finals Week also known as "Week of Rogan's"). []

- Mike Tunison aka Christmas Ape among many others left Kissing Suzy Kolber. The site is basically dead now. [KSK]

- Finally, Lisa Kudrow joined Taylor Swift to perform "Smelly Cat."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Thank You Pittsburgh by David Nelson

The Philadelphia Phillies recently traded 6-time All-Star and 12+ year veteran Chase Utley to the Los Angeles Dodgers. To thank the fans, Utley purchased ads in two Philadelphia newspapers to express his gratitude. I'm mentioning this because the Pittsburgh Steelers placed WR David Nelson on the team's Reserve/Injured List on Tuesday. Nelson spent time with the Buffalo Bills from 2010-12 and the New York Jets from 2013-14 before signing with the Steelers and played with the team for slightly more than 12 days. Since Nelson doesn't have the resources that Utley has and didn't have the tenure in Pittsburgh like Utley had in Philadelphia, instead of purchasing an ad in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette or Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Nelson is saying thank you here on Sean's Ramblings.

Thank You Pittsburgh

for the opportunity to play for this terrific franchise. Thank you to the Rooney family, Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin for giving me this chance to continue my NFL career. Thanks to the fans for realizing that I was not Jordy Nelson or Edmund Nelson, the former Steeler that worked as a color analyst for KDKA on the Steelers pre-season games prior to this season. I mean, I don't look anything like Edmund Nelson, so why did Frank from North Versailles and Joe from Dormont call me Edmund?

I'd like to thank my teammates and particularly my wide receiver compatriots. No, using the word compatriots doesn't make me a New England Patriots fan. Antonio Brown is the best receiver in the NFL, and I wish I had the chance to talk with him more to learn how he got those amazing abs. Markus Wheaton, DHB and Martavis Bryant are also class guys.

Heinz Field is such an incredible atmosphere. I mean I've seen it on TV and it would have been cool to have seen it as a member of the Steelers. Maybe the team will give me a souvenir Terrible Towel and let me wave it from a luxury box. 50-yard seats? Okay, the top level of Heinz Field is fine.

Finally, I hope that you will support my i'mMe Foundation, a non-profit organization on a mission to end the orphan cycle and change the lives of children. We have done important work in Haiti, and our mission is to bring the sustaining and empowering structure of family to the orphans of the world through care, prevention, and stewardship. Please check out our website at and follow the organization on Twitter.

Thanks again, Pittsburgh and Steelers fans across the globe.

(Full disclosure: This wasn't really written by David Nelson. Shocking, right? However, the i'mMe Foundation is real, so h/t to Behind the Steel Curtain for providing information about this great cause.)

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