Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2015 Celebrate Fairfax Headliners

Celebrate Fairfax!, Northern Virginia’s largest community-wide celebration taking place on June 5-7, 2015 at the Fairfax County Government Center, announced its headliners for this year's festival.

Friday, June 5th: BUSH

Bush are a British rock band formed in London in 1992. The band found their immediate success with the release of their debut album Sixteen Stone in 1994, which is certified 6× multi-platinum by the RIAA. Bush went on to become one of the most commercially successful rock bands of the 1990s, selling over 10 million records in the United States. (From Wikipedia)

Should it be Bush is instead of Bush are? Regardless, this is a great get for Celebrate Fairfax. Plus, there's always a chance that Bush front man Gavin Rossdale's wife attends too. Maybe Gwen Stefani will take the kids to lunch at Coastal Flats before the show and then serve as a judge at the Fairfax County Karaoke Championship during the festival. She does have musical judging experience.

Saturday, June 6th: 3 DOORS DOWN

The band rose to international fame with their first single, "Kryptonite", which charted in the top three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The band then signed onto Republic Records and released their debut album, The Better Life, in 2000. The album was the 11th-best-selling album of the year and was certified 6x platinum in the United States. Their second album, Away from the Sun, (2002) continued the band's success; it debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart, went multi-platinum in the United States like its predecessor, and spawned the hits "When I'm Gone" and "Here Without You". Since the start of their career, 3 Doors Down have sold over 20 million albums worldwide. (Again, from Wikipedia)

Bush and 3 Doors Down may be the best 1-2 combination of bands Celebrate Fairfax has ever had.

Sunday, June 7th: THE AMISH OUTLAWS

They look like fun.

Please click here to learn more about Celebrate Fairfax and you'll be able to buy tickets (discounted tickets!) around April 1st.

I know that I write this every year, but I have no idea where else you can buy such inexpensive concert tickets while also getting admission for dozens of other performances and activities.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Randomness & Links

There's a lot of little things I want to share, and it makes sense (at least to me) to put everything together into one post.

- We're considering giving up our home phone and relying solely on cell phones. I know many people do this, but I've always had a home phone. This scares me a little including the fact that my kids will need to use my (likely brand new) cell phone if they want to talk to their relatives. I guess that's what Skype is for. (That was the original title of a Dionne Warwick song.)

- Ever wonder what the most popular breakfast cereals are in the US? The answer is Cheerios which also matches the most popular cereal in my house. Meanwhile, I've never heard of Malt-O-Meal, the 10th most popular cereal. [The Washington Post]

- I've had the opportunity to get to know some awesome people through this blog. The talented Neal Coolong is one of those people. Even though we've never met, he was extremely generous in giving his time for my Pittsburgh Sports Blogger Interview Series, and he's always supported my blog. Neal recently shared that he's leaving Behind The Steel Curtain, the best Steelers blog around, and will announce his new gig soon. More importantly, his daughter appears to be doing better. [Behind the Steel Curtain]

- Nicholas, aka Tecmo, another friend that I met through this blog and actually met once in person at a Penguins-Islander game recently celebrated the 8th anniversary of his blog Pittsburgh Sports & Mini Ponies. He doesn't post as much as he used (that sounds familiar), but his blog is always a good read. [PSAMP]

- My friend Sarah (someone who is a friend from before I started this blog) was on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour Small Batch podcast. She's really good. If you're a romance reader or know someone who is, they must check out her blog, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. [NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour]

- Inside Higher Ed regularly publishes commencement speakers. I love the fact that Ithaca College's 2015 commencement speaker, Meghan Musnicki, has a longer bio than some actor named Denzel. [Inside Higher Ed]

- Lisa of Lemon Gloria was an extra in House of Cards. There are some spoilers in the post, but I don't know any of the characters names, so nothing spoiled for me. [Lemon Gloria]

- I get jealous every time I read one of Christine's blog posts since I'd love to travel internationally. She recently visited the Seoul Olympic Park and shared lots of pictures like this one. [The Adventures of ChrisMichRob in Korea]

- Finally, I landed awkwardly attempting a diving catch during an ultimate Frisbee game at least five years ago. I was in significant pain at the time, but kept playing and felt better soon after. However, I still feel some discomfort in my shoulder when raising my arm to make certain signals as a soccer referee/assistant referee and when washing my back. It might be 30 years, but I'll probably need surgery someday.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Brazil, Brazil, Brazil (Express Fail)

Today's Washington Post Express features three stories about Brazil regarding a tragic bus crash, a massive march against the country's leader and people taking showers on pages 8-9. Guess which story had the most written about it by Express?

Keeping clean is important!

Please click here for past Express Fail posts. It's shocking to me that it's been about 18 months since my last Express Fail post.

Friday, March 13, 2015

I Love(d) Rax Too

Growing up, my family went to the Rax restaurant on Penn Avenue in Point Breeze/Wilkinsburg seemingly every week or two. While their signature item was Roast Beef sandwiches, the fast food chain also had a salad bar and a wide variety of other menu options. According to Wikipedia, Rax had over 500 locations in 38 states in the 80s, but is down to 14 as of March 2013 according to this Columbus Dispatch article.

However, according to this person's license plate, Rax is always in his/her heart:

Of course, maybe this plate belongs to a woman who loves Richard Adam Xavier.

Just for fun, here are two Rax commercials:

I miss Rax.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Trivia Tuesday

No time for an introduction today. Answer the questions from the picture below.

As always please leave your answers in the comments section and don't use the internet for assistance. Good luck!

This week's trivia is brought to you by the fine folks at Trivia Kings.

Monday, March 09, 2015

How To End A Conversation (or People Are Stupid)

After a one-year hiatus, the annual hockey road trip returned for the 2014-2015 season last Thursday. While I'll write about the games and trip over the next few weeks, let's go back to Thursday when this happened:

As a result, every school district in the Washington DC area closed as did the Federal Government. My original flight from Washington National to Tampa scheduled for 11:00 AM was cancelled. I was rescheduled for a 2:20 flight which would get into Tampa at 6:30 (after a stop in Atlanta) giving me just enough time to rent a car to get to the Lightning-Maple Leafs game. However, after the plane arrived late, a mechanical problem needed fixed, the runway closed to be plowed and the plane got de-iced, the 2:20 flight left 2 hours late.

When we arrived in Atlanta, the 4 passengers continuing to Tampa (including me) were instructed to stay on the plane. As we waited for the Atlanta folks to board, I started talking to the flight attendant (who I learned had worked at Hooters in her previous life and once drove NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders in her car) and another passenger. The other passenger seemed like a nice woman who was heading to Florida to see the Baltimore Orioles spring training. When I mentioned that I was originally from Pittsburgh and went to Spring Training a few years ago, she said something to the effect that she was disappointed I was from Sh!tsburgh.

I know that I get defensive about my hometown, and I may celebrate the accomplishments of current and former Pittsburgh residents a little too much (Michael Keaton got robbed for Best Actor!). However, when is saying Sh!tsburgh to someone, particularly to someone you just met, ever appropriate? Did she want me to agree with her and trash my hometown? Did she want me to declare my love of the Orioles (though I did say that I liked Camden Yards) and state that Baltimore or DC is significantly better than Pittsburgh? Instead, I quickly ended the conversation and said I needed to use the restroom.

In case you're wondering, I arrived at the Amalie Arena in Tampa with 15 seconds left in the 2nd period, but that's for a future blog post.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Maybe A PG-13 Dinosaur Train?

During my recent haircut, the barber/stylist was making conversation, and somehow, the topic of my kids came up (as in my wife is watching the kids right now as I'm out gallivanting around town getting a haircut and going to the grocery store). It started with the typical stuff like gender, age, do they like snow, and then this happened:

B/S: What does your 3 year old like?

Me: Mostly dinosaurs and trains.

B/S: Awww. That's cute. Has he seen Jurassic Park?

Me: Um, no.

Now the barber/stylist is probably in her 20s and clearly hasn't spent much time around young kids. Dinosaur Train is much more of my son's speed than Jurassic Park, a PG-13 movie with scenes like this.

I mean, sure I let my infant watch Game of Thrones, but I don't think my 3 year-old is quite ready to see Jeff Goldblum in a movie.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Maroon 5's Sugar Sounds Like Michael Jackson's Beat It

I don't understand Maroon 5. I mean, I understand that they have a string of catchy pop hits, but they're as big as they are solely because of Adam Levine. Having a charismatic lead singer appear weekly on The Voice and get People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive does good things for a musical career. In my mind, Maroon 5 is Lifehouse without Adam Levine being Adam Levine. That's not a knock against Lifehouse either since I think their best songs are better than Maroon 5's best songs.

Anyway, I heard Maroon 5's latest song Sugar on the radio recently (yes, I still listen to the radio) and thought one part sounded a lot like Michael Jackson's Beat It. Apparently, Ben Schuller, as seen in this video below, agrees with me. Specifically, check out the part around the :23 second mark.

This isn't quite a Sam Smith-Tom Petty situation, and I'm not a lawyer or play one on the internet, but I think the Jackson family has a case to get some royalties here.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

MLB Changing Playoff Format

With spring training underway throughout Florida and Arizona, new Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred made a major announcement yesterday. After more than a century of the World Series featuring one team from the National League and one team from the American League, the Commissioner revealed a change in the playoff format effective for the 2015 season, so that teams from the same league could potentially meet in the World Series. Manfred said, "We want the best teams to compete for the World Series and revising the playoff format will help accomplish this goal. Seeing a Red Sox-Yankees or a Dodgers-Giants World Series would be amazing. Think of the ratings!" There were unconfirmed reports that Manfred then jumped into a Scrooge McDuck money pit.

The playoffs will still consist of six division winners and two Wild Card teams from each league. The one-game Wild Card round will also remain the same as will the divisional round. The major change occurs once baseball gets to the final four. Instead of an American League Championship Series and a National League Championship Series, the final four teams will be reseeded based on the regular season record. Here's an example of what could occur this season:

AL East Division Winner: Boston Red Sox
AL Central Division Winner: Kansas City Royals
AL West Division Winner: Los Angeles Angels
AL Wild Card Teams: Toronto Blue Jays & Detroit Tigers

NL East Division Winner: Miami Marlins
NL Central Division Winner: Chicago Cubs
NL West Division Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Card Teams: Washington Nationals & Pittsburgh Pirates (yes again!)

Wild Card round: Pirates & Tigers advance

Divisional round:

Angels defeat Tigers
Red Sox defeat Royals
Cubs defeat Pirates
Marlins defeat Dodgers

Still with me here? Now, instead of the two league championship series, this would be the next round based on the regular season record:

Angels (100 regular season wins) vs. Marlins (92)
Cubs (96) vs. Red Sox (98) - Now this would be a fun series!

Of course, there's always a chance that things could backfire. Instead of having the teams with the two best records, you could have a Cubs-Miami World Series.

(Yes, I made this entire thing up just for the Back to the Future II reference. However, would you be surprised if the new Commissioner came up with some type of proposal to change the playoffs?)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sean Analyzes Song Lyrics (Yes Again)

Do you listen to songs on the radio and think to yourself, I would love to know Sean's thoughts about various lyrics? Well, I'm back again to analyze lyrics from some of the biggest current pop songs.

FourFiveSeconds by Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney

Now I'm FourFiveSeconds from wildin'
And we got three more days 'til Friday

McCartney is one of the greatest songwriters ever. However, this is just a fancy way of staying that it's Tuesday.

I'm just tryna make it back home by Monday, mornin'

So, you have 6 more days to get home and you're singing about this now? Can you at least wait until Friday to start telling everyone that you need to be home by Monday?

Style by Taylor Swift

Midnight, you come and pick me up
No headlights

Even The Wallflowers had one headlight.

(and later)

So it goes
He can't keep his wild eyes on the road

Taylor, this guy is a terrible driver. Stay away!

I Don't Mind by Usher

Shawty, I don’t mind If you dance on a pole
That don’t make you a ho
Shawty, I don’t mind when you work until three
If you’re leaving with me
Go make that money, money, money
Your money, money, money
Cause I know how it is, go and handle your biz
And get that money, money, money
Your money, money, money
You can take off your clothes
Long as you coming home, girl, I don’t mind

Usher, you're 36 years old and have two kids. Why are you singing a song like this?

Centuries by Fall Out Boy

Some legends are told
Some turn to dust or to gold
But you will remember me, remember me for centuries

No, Fall Out Boy, we will not remember you for centuries. Think about it. How many musicians can you name from the 1700s? Mozart. Beethoven. Anyone else? Well, Fall Out Boy, you are no Mozart or Beethoven. In 200 years, maybe folks will know McCartney, but they're not going to know you. (Wow, this sounds really mean. Sorry.)

Click here for previous installments of me analyzing song lyrics.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Trivia Friday Video

See what I did there? I combined Trivia Tuesday with a Friday Video. With the Academy Awards taking place on Sunday, can you name the only music video that features two Oscar-winning actors, two Grammy award winners and Mr. T?

If you looked down the screen, you obviously know the answer.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Do Pretzels Go Bad?

I recently discovered an unopened bag of Rold Gold pretzels in my basement closet. (Yes, this truly is a "Found in My Basement" blog post!) My excitement in finding my favorite snack food was tempered by the fact that the bag shows a use by date of June 2014. While I don't use milk or eggs beyond the expiration date (well, maybe one or two days after the date if the milk smells okay), would an unopened bag of pretzels be stale or unsafe to eat 8 months after the expiration date?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I Don't Understand Gambling Odds

There was an article in Sunday's Washington Post about the teams with the best odds to win the 2015 World Series. The print version includes the over/under wins for each MLB team from Bovada and the World Series odds from the Atlantis sportsbook. Since this is the Washington Post, the Nationals were clearly the focus of the article as the team has the best odds to win the World Series (13-2) and are expected to have the most regular season wins (over/under 93). The odd part, though, is how these sites view the Pirates.

Bovada has the Pirates over/under wins at 85 1/2. After reaching the playoffs over the past two seasons, this is not unexpected. In fact the 85 1/2 is the 7th best in baseball behind the Nats, Dodgers, Cardinals, Angels, Tigers and Red Sox. However, Atlantis has the Pirates odds to win the World Series at 33-1 or tied for 17th best in baseball. Um, what? Look, I understand that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Cardinals all look like more complete teams and will be extremely tough competition for the Pirates. Meanwhile, the Mets (28-1), Mariners (16-1), Cubs (10-1!) and Padres (14-1) all have better odds to win the World Series than the Bucs.

I don't get it.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Meeting Benjamin Netanyahu

I visited Israel during winter break of 1996/the first day or two of 1997. It was an amazing trip. I was part of the leadership bus consisting of college students throughout the country. Most of the people on the bus didn't know more than a few others, so there weren't the cliques that you might expect. I became friends with a couple from the University of Houston and went to their wedding a few years later. My assigned roommate attended Texas A&M, and I remember him trying to bargain for cheaper ice cream at Ben & Jerry's since you're expected to bargain at retail stores in Israel. Obviously, this did not apply at Ben & Jerry's but the interaction between my roommate and the employee was hilarious. I made friends with people from George Mason University, Arizona State University and San Diego State, and in this last case, she vouched me, helping me get a job there.

Unfortunately, I lost all of my pictures from this trip. I don't know if I accidentally threw them away packing up after college graduation, but they have been gone for 18+ years now. However, I recently found a newsletter that included this picture of me with the current Israeli Prime Minister and the leader at the time, Benjamin Netanyahu.

I honestly don't know why I was picked to meet Netanyahu, and more importantly, why the Prime Minister took time out of his schedule to address a group (though a large group) of American college students. I think I probably said hello, but I doubt we said more than ten words to each other. I'm positive that I was much nicer to Netanyahu than I was to former California Governor Gray Davis.

Netanyahu is in the news quite a bit these days. He's currently running for re-election in Israel and may or may not address Congress in the near future. Whether or not you agree or disagree with any (or all) of Netanyahu's opinions and policies, how often can you say that you shook hands with a country leader? I mean, sure I got a holiday card from the Gore family, but Al Gore was only the Vice President at that time, and it's not like we actually met.