Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Adam Ellick's Ithaca College Commencement Address

There's a very good chance you don't recognize the name Adam Ellick but you definitely know his work. Ellick is a New York Times correspondent whose reporting first brought Malala Yousafzai, now a Nobel Prize laureate, to the attention of the world. Ellick has spent significant time in Pakistan, Indonesia, Afghanistan, and, well, pretty much everywhere and gave the commencement address to Ithaca College on Sunday. Spoiler alert: This is a really, really good speech.

Not mentioned in Adam's address is that he met me nearly 21 years ago. Adam was a freshman at Ithaca College, and I was his Resident Assistant (RA). Adam was (and probably still is) a huge Philadelphia sports fan, and it really seemed like he was going to be a sports journalist. I will be forever grateful to Adam for letting me watch the 4-overtime Petr Nedved Penguins-Capitals playoff game in his room since he had ESPN2 while I did not.

Anyway, I realize that it was a lifetime ago, but it's incredible to see where Adam is now. It's well earned and deserved.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Even White Boys Got To Shout

We occasionally have dance parties in our house where we play fun songs and our five year old and two year old boys dance and jump around. Fortunately, there are no cameras to document this (particularly of their father dancing). Anyway, Dynamite by Taio Cruz and Taylor Swift's Shake It Off are popular songs, but I like going back to "classic" songs like It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock and Groove Is In The Heart by Dee-Lite. Over the weekend, we added Sir Mix-a-Lot's Baby Got Back to the playlist. Now, perhaps the lyrics aren't appropriate for pre-kindergarten kids though we skipped over the "I like big butts and I can not lie" line. It's not like they understand what "But Fonda ain't got a motor in the back of her Honda" means.

Anyway, the point of the post is The Moose's reaction to hearing the song. My five year old said, "That's not even music."

I grounded him for a week.

Friday, May 13, 2016

All I Want For My Birthday Is...

A Penguins victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in game one of the Eastern conference finals.

A Pirates victory over the Chicago Cubs.

A Sheffield Wednesday victory in game one of a two-game playoff against Brighton in the British Championship division. The Owls have a chance of getting promoted to the Premier League.

Cookies or cake.

This Cake is fine but I was thinking of something more like this:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hotter Ticket: Hamilton or Paw Patrol Live?

Earlier this week, there was a big announcement that Hamilton is coming to Washington's Kennedy Center during the 2017-2018 season. You may know Hamilton as the popular musical that just received a record 16 Tony nominations and is on its way to becoming one of the most successful musicals of all time. In addition, the show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, received a "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation. According to The Washington Post, "if you want a guaranteed shot at securing tickets for “Hamilton,” you’ll have to buy an expensive season subscription — for both the 2016-2017 and the 2017-2018 seasons."

Meanwhile, Paw Patrol, a Nickelodeon cartoon that is huge among my 5 year-old's preschool class, is beginning a live tour. You may know Paw Patrol if you have a child in the 3-6 range. To my knowledge, the show's creator did not win a "genius grant," but has probably done very well thanks to merchandise sales. Anyway, my friend forwarded me presale information for Paw Patrol Live at The Theater at Madison Square Garden from March 23-26, 2017.

So you read this correctly. You can buy tickets now (May 2016) to see Hamilton in DC sometime in 2017 or 2018. You can also buy tickets now (May 2016) to see Paw Patrol Live in New York in 10+ months. Both of these dates seem like a really long time from now.

Completely unrelated to these shows, I have no idea what I'm having for dinner tonight.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Guess Who's Back?

After suffering a gruesome knee injury, in which Chris Coghlan should have been charged with a hate crime, Jung Ho Kang returned to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday and did this.

And then this...

The Korean broadcasters are outstanding. Let's Go Bucs!

Friday, May 06, 2016

Friday Video: Glass Tiger

Glass Tiger is by far more powerful than a paper tiger. They proved it making sure that you Don't Forget, um, Them When They're Gone. Sadly, I think people forgot them as their biggest song doesn't have 1 million views on YouTube. Nevertheless, this song popped into my head earlier this week, so now you get to enjoy it too (and help this song get 1 million views)!.

A few thoughts about the song/video:

- It's very clever that the lead singer takes off his sunglasses in the middle of the line, "If you could see what I have seen"

- Are there any men in the audience?

- I've always wondering if Bryan Adams sings back-up vocals in this song. It sounds like him. Both Bryan Adams and Glass Tiger are Canadian. Of course, I've never actually gone far enough to look this up.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Donald Trump & Celebrity Indiana Endorsements

I promise that this post isn't too political. I went out on Monday night to play trivia and to watch game three of the Pens-Caps series. The restaurant also showed several baseball games, and there was one small TV airing Fox News. At one point, I glanced over and saw a headline about Trump and Cruz arguing over Mike Tyson's endorsement. I admit that I was intrigued by this storyline but not enough to watch it or even to try to find out more about this later.

Earlier in the day, though, I saw this video of East Liverpool, Ohio native and former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz endorsing Donald Trump:

I'm not sure how operating hotels and golf courses helps you be President (maybe North Korea will stop trying to make nuclear weapons in exchange for a Trump golf course and resort in Pyongyang?), but that's not the point of this post. Former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight and former Purdue University basketball coach Gene Keady also endorsed Trump. I'm not sure if this was devised by the Trump campaign or if Holtz, Knight, and Keady are all really enthusiastic supporters of Trump, but the leading Republican candidate now has the endorsements of three of the most popular people in Indiana. (Apparently, Knute Rockne is a John Kasich guy, but hasn't come out publicly to endorse him.)

It seems to me that Trump is close to locking down Indiana in part due to these endorsements. However, to really clinch a victory, Trump should make sure to gain endorsements from a popular Indy car driver (is there still a Rahal or Andretti around?), Andrew Luck, Reggie Miller, Rik Smits, Antwaan Randle El, and most importantly, Larry Bird.

Of course, Trump probably shouldn't mention on the campaign trail that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady supports him. That won't go over well in Indiana.

Friday, April 29, 2016

It's Good To Be A Cleveland Browns Fan

With family and friends in South Florida, when the Steelers play the Miami Dolphins, I try to attend the games. Back in 2010, I went to the Steelers-Dolphins game and purchased group tickets since I knew enough people that also wanted to go. Back then, tickets cost $52 for the Upper End Zone seats. This was a higher price than other games that season since there was a higher demand for the Steelers game.

With the Steelers visiting the Dolphins again this fall, I've been in touch with my Dolphins group sales representative about tickets. (Yes, I have a Dolphins group sales representative...and he has called or emailed me almost every week over the past two months.) Just a few days ago, I received the actual ticket prices:

As you can see, tickets for the Steelers-Dolphins game is the most expensive game along with when the New England Patriots take their talents to South Florida. The same Upper End Zone seats are just about double from 6 years ago at $102. Throwing in airfare, I think $102 (plus parking, food, etc) might be too much for me for me this year.

However, the one thing I noticed is how inexpensive a ticket is to see the Dolphins host the Arizona Cardinals (coming off an NFC Championship game appearance), Tennessee Titans, and Cleveland Browns. These ticket prices probably make it the only time where you can say it is good to be a Browns fan! Of course, the big questions is will Miami and Cleveland fans both wear LeBron James jerseys to the game?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Interview with Dane Fischer: GMU Assistant Men's Basketball Coach

Back in November, I took my then 4 year-old son to his first college basketball game: George Mason vs. Colgate. Unfortunately, we left early since my son wasn't feeling well (it wasn't a good sign that he fell asleep in the car on the way to the game), but while he didn't say much during the game and wanted to sit on my lap the entire time, he talked about the game for days. Anyway, at the game, I picked up a program and noticed that the bio for one of the assistant coaches, Dane Fischer, stated that he graduated from Ithaca College. Well, I graduated from Ithaca College too. There aren't many (any besides Dane?) Ithaca College grads working as D1 basketball coaches, so I wanted to learn more about Dane and how he went from Ithaca to Mason. Dane was gracious enough to answer my questions. Enjoy!

How did you go from a Business major at Ithaca College to an assistant coach at George Mason University?

When I graduated from IC I was offered a job as a Financial Advisor with Edwards Jones. It was a great company and I really liked the job, but it wasn't my true passion. I worked in that position for about 10 months before deciding to pursue a career in college coaching. It was the best professional decision I've ever made.

Did you have a big adjustment going from the Patriot League to the Atlantic 10?

Any time you change leagues there is an adjustment. It takes some time to learn the different styles of play and tendencies of the coaches. The biggest change on the court is the overall athleticism of the players. It is also a significant change going from a league with 10 teams to a league with 14.

What are your responsibilities as an assistant coach? Do you have a particular focus on recruiting, scouting, player development, or all of the above (or something else I'm missing)?

As assistant coaches we all share responsibility in recruiting, scouting and player development and try to bring ideas to Coach Paulsen that we think can advance our program.

Both personally and professionally, what did you think about your first year in Fairfax?

Too much traffic! Personally - Fairfax is a great place to live. It's a lot of fun being close to DC and all that comes along with it. There are a ton of great restaurants and my wife and I really like it here. Professionally - The people at George Mason and in Fairfax have been fantastic. The support for our basketball program is really impressive and we are excited for what lies ahead.

It seems like GMU may have been one of the youngest teams in the country. What do you expect from the team for the 2016-2017 season?

Believe it or not, we are going to be even younger next year. As of today, our roster will be comprised of 10 freshmen and sophomores in 2016-2017. Our team made some nice strides this past season but we will probably experience some of the same growing pains next year as we did this year. Hopefully our culture continues to move in the right direction and with that comes more success on the court.

Since all of your home games are at Eagle Bank Arena, do you get free tickets to events there? Sesame Street Live tickets would be an awesome perk!

We don't get free tickets to all the events at Eagle Bank but some times I need to "stop by the office" when those events are going on 😊

I was an international business minor at IC and all I remember is that nearly every class involved the importance of learning and understanding the culture of a particular country or environment. So, um, did you learn this too at IC? Have you been able to use any aspects of business education as a coach?

I was a finance major so most of that material doesn't apply to coaching. I did learn a lot from my management, organizational behavior and computer classes that I apply on a regular basis to coaching.

Do you make it back to Ithaca much? Are there any potential recruits in central New York so you can make an excuse to stop by Ithaca for Rogan's pizza?

I've been back to Ithaca a few times in the past couple of years. The coach I played for (Jim Mullins) is still the head coach there so it's fun to go back and connect with him. Also, one of my good friends from Ithaca is the defensive coordinator for the football team so I've been back to watch his team play. We signed a recruit from Syracuse, NY this year but unfortunately it didn't lead me to any trips to South Hill!

Finally, where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?

5-10 years from now is hard to answer because of the unpredictability of our business. Hopefully I'm coaching at a great school and part of a winning program that does things the right way.

Thanks again to Dane for answering my questions. Feel free to follow him on Twitter and go out to see Dane and the GMU Patriots in action next season.

Photos from GoMason.com, GMU Hoops & Ithaca College.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dancing With Antonio Brown

My good friend Kim, AKA Sista K, has sent me weekly updates of Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown's performance on Dancing With The Stars. After several weeks of this, I thought perhaps Kim might want to share her thoughts about the show with the world (or the 10 people who still read my blog). So here's Kim's review of the April 25th episode:

Hello fans of Sean's Ramblings,

I have been gifted the opportunity to take over this blog to share my thoughts on the recent Dancing with the Stars (also known as DTWS) episode. Being a huge fan of dance, this show, and of course Sean, there is a lot on my mind to share.

So, why did Sean ask me to blog? (Sean's note: Besides the fact that I don't write as much as I used to and thought Kim would write a fun post about Antonio Brown & DWTS?) I think it might be because a certain star Wide Receiver of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mr. Antonio Brown, is currently on the show and we have been chatting about it. Little known fact, it might also be because Sean is also a huge fan of dance, as proven by his stellar performance in the Jazz Dance class we took together in college. So let's dive right into Mr. Boomin's performance on last night's show.

DWTS likes to have theme nights. (Monday) night was no different, and the theme was to recreate epic dances from movies and music videos. Antonio danced a jive to Footloose, from the movie by the same name. I must say - his flicks and kicks were on point, and he had charisma for days. Last week, the show knocked his lack of work ethic and even his own partner predicted they would not win the show. They had a heart-to-heart and apparently worked hard all week, because the dance was filled with energy and well executed dance moves. He got a 27 out of 30 and was not in the bottom 3. I predict Mr. Boomin' will make the finals on his natural dance ability, his giant smile and probably the huge "Stillers" fan base behind him.

Other notable performances were Von Miller and his recreation of the Michael Jackson "Bad" video, and Wayna Morris' (from Boyz II Men) absolutely spot on rendition of N'Sync's classic VMA performance of "Bye, Bye, Bye". Sean may recall me terrorizing him by replaying that song over and over on a road trip through Ohio many years ago. (I don't remember being terrorized by this song. I even liked the bye, bye, bye hand signals.)

(Go to about 2:45 to see the actual performance. You'll notice that Antonio did a really nice job of getting both feet inbounds during his dance.)

Next week we lose 2 couples on DWTS and I predict Paige VanZant and Kim Fields are probably not long for this show. Overall, this has been a great season of DWTS because there are so many talented celebrities and the pro dancer that usually makes the finals every season (Derek Hough) is not competing. Both of these factors plus Antonio's smile have made this a standout season.

Thanks again Sean for the opportunity - hope y'all watch next Monday!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sean Runs a 5K

For the second straight year, I ran a 5K with no training whatsoever. However, my time this year was about 1 minute and 30 seconds more than last year. I could blame my left ankle that I somehow tweaked on a wet hill the day before or the fact that I'm a year older. Instead, I'm going to blame my 5 year old, AKA, The Moose.

On Sunday morning, my son woke up with a rash on his chest and back. This was probably due to the fact that he wore his brand new soccer shirt to his game...in the rain...and then for another 90 minutes after the game courtesy to team pictures. Upon seeing this rash, we decided that a trip to an Urgent Care was necessary. The doctor confirmed that it wasn't contagious and that it probably was a reaction to food or something else (like wearing a brand new, wet shirt for about three hours). With that news, we went straight to the race.

For the race, the plan was that I would run the 5K while my wife would walk the course with a stroller for the kids. This worked perfectly for the first 20 minutes or at about the time that I was running on one side of the road while my family walked on the other side. Apparently, just waving hello wasn't enough. My two year-old (Pedro Tulo) started crying and The Moose yelled for me. I stopped and The Moose decided that he wanted to run with me. We ran for about 30 seconds with him holding my hand. Actually, ran might not be the right word. It was more like me running slowly while dragging him along. I accepted the fact that I was going to miss out on 5K glory and finishing in record time (though apparently not in record time; see below) to run with him. It was going to be a nice father-son moment. However, The Moose decided he wanted to go back with his mom and brother. Before saying goodbye though, he gave me a high five. Then asked for a hug. And then a kiss. It was very sweet, and I'm now accepting offers from Hollywood to make a movie about this. I then continued running.

So now for the information you want to know.

- I finished the 5K in 31:27. While slower than last year, when I ran this race in 2012, I finished in 31:34. So I'm 7 seconds faster now and that doesn't even include the approximate 12 minutes (give or take 11 minutes) I spent with The Moose which slowed me down!

- Overall, I finished 131st out of 253 runners.

- I also finished 33rd out of 47 men between 40-49. What the heck? I moved up to this division this year and figured my (relative) youth would help me dominate this age group. Apparently not. Oh well. I guess I'll have to wait 10 years to dominate the 50-59 age group.

- According to online results, the winner was a boy under the age of 8. He completed the 5K in an unbelievable 6:40. Yes, that's an average of a 2 minute and 9 second mile. Roger Bannister who?

- I bought new running shoes on Thursday night just for the race. I wore them all day Friday to try to break them in and that seemed to work.

- For entertainment, I listened to a Bill Simmons podcast with Chuck Klosterman where they discussed Prince. Really good stuff.

- The post-race bagels looked really good. Of course, every bread product looks really good during Passover. Fortunately, they also had fruit.

- My ankle bothered me all Sunday and into Monday particularly walking down steps.

With a completely healthy ankle and not being held back my son (and maybe a little training), I could have easily defeated the kid who ran the 5K in 6:40.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Shooting At Burger King

This story and photo are from Washington's ABC 7 News WJLA:

ARLINGTON, Va. (ABC7) — A man was shot outside of a Burger King in Arlington late Wednesday evening, according to Arlington Police.

Police say the 20-year-old man was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The Burger King where the shooting took place is located in the 3600 block of Columbia Pike.

While the story doesn't mention any suspects, I hope the police consider all possibilities.

You don't want to mess with the Angriest Whopper!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Alexander Ovechkin For President

Alexander Ovechkin is a very good hockey player. The 2004 #1 overall draft pick has over 500 goals and has led the league in goals scored the past 4 seasons. This season, Ovechkin's Washington Capitals had the league's best record and now lead the Philadelphia Flyers 3 games to 0 in the playoffs. Naturally, Ovechkin is popular in the DC area and really, really, really popular with this driver.

Please excuse the terrible picture. The license plate reads OV4PRZ with the Caps logo.

While the current slate of Presidential candidates may be underwhelming to many, I'm a little concerned about this driver supporting Ovechkin. First, Ovechkin was born on Sep 17, 1985 meaning that he's not 35 as required. In addition, Ovie was born in Moscow and is still a Russian citizen. While being born outside the US doesn't seem to be an issue for Ted Cruz, the fact that Ovie is not a US citizen may be problematic.

Despite these two minor Constitutional obstacles, I question Ovechkin's electability. Is his solution to improve the economy simply to buy lottery tickets? What kind of foreign policy experience does he have other than hanging out with Putin? (Actually, he has more international experience than many recent candidates. I recommend that he talks this up on the campaign trail.)

Assuming he runs as a Democrat, he will easily win the Washington DC vote. Even if he runs as a Republican, he could do the unthinkable and win DC. I think he'll also do well in Maryland and Virginia, but he faces major hurdles outside of the DC area. He's not going to do well in Pennsylvania though his candidacy could do something special. Ovie can bring Penguins and Flyers fans together in the common bond...of disliking him. Everyone together now!

After thinking about this even more, perhaps the driver isn't referring to Ovechkin moving into the White House. Maybe the driver really wanted Ovie and the Caps to win The Presidents' Trophy for the team with the most points during the NHL regular season. Mission accomplished!

Friday, April 15, 2016

2016 Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule

The NFL released its 2016 schedule on Thursday night in a 3-hour show on the NFL Network. Here's your 2016 Steelers schedule:

The first thing that jumps out is the Steelers playing on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. However, the Steelers also play on other national holidays: Chocolate Milkshake Day (Sept 12), Fire Prevention Day (Oct 9), my half-birthday (Nov 13) and Bake Cookies Day (Dec 18).

September 12: I really thought the Steelers would play in Washington on the Monday night before election day like they did in 2008. Instead, the Steelers play in Maryland on the first Monday night of the season. I look forward to seeing all of the Metro outages and delays during a regular Monday evening commute, first home football game, and a 7:05 Mets-Nationals game. Might as well throw in a Presidential debate in DC that night as well as a World Bank meeting, Pope visit, or nuclear summit at that time too.

In a bit of a schedule quirk, the NFL scheduled the Steelers against all three other AFC North teams twice.

September 25: How many times do you think we'll hear the Battle of Pennsylvania the week of the Steelers-Eagles game?

October 9: Could the Steelers face the Jets the same time the Pirates play the Mets in the playoffs? (Probably not.)

October 16: Time for a repeat trip to South Florida for a Steelers game? The Dolphins group ticket guy has e-mailed and/or called me weekly over the past month. He also emailed me on Thursday to let me know the exact time the schedule would be released.

October 23: The return of Woodland Hills graduate Rob Gronkowski to Pittsburgh. Some quarterback named Brady will probably be there too.

November 13: Steelers-Cowboys. Let's go back to the days of Roger Staubach and Mean Joe Greene. Tom Laundry and Chuck Noll. Steve Pelluer and Mark Malone?

December 4: The Byron Stingily game. This will almost be as big as when Brett Favre returned to Green Bay as a member of the Vikings. Long-time Steelers offensive lineman Stingily, who we all remember for playing as many snaps for the Steelers as me, seeks revenge against his former team.

January 1: Steelers fans get to see first-hand the annual week 17 game of "Who Is The Cleveland Browns Starting QB?" RG3 has the early edge, but I think Bernie Kosar has a good chance to start.

Go Steelers!