Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Trivia Tuesday: Movie Edition

Happy Tuesday everyone. We're having a picture round of Trivia Tuesday today. Your challenge is to identify the ten movies based on the pictures below. Good luck!


Please leave your answers in the comments section.

This week's trivia is courtesy of District Trivia.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Ray Luzier Wears An Antonio Brown Jersey

It seems like only a week ago that Drake performed in Pittsburgh wearing both a Pens and Pirates jersey. Oh, it was only a week ago. Anyway, Ray Luzier is currently the drummer of the band Korn. On Thursday, the band performed at First Niagara Pavilion (it will always be Star Lake Amphitheater to me) outside Pittsburgh. Based on the title of this post you know what's going to happen next.


According to Wikipedia, Luzier was born in Pittsburgh and raised in West Newton, Pennsylvania, so wearing a Steelers jersey is definitely not a stretch. Luzier has also had a really good run as a musician. He played drums for David Lee Roth from 1997-2005 and has also performed with Stone Temple Pilots, KXM, and Army Of Anyone. Arguably more importantly, there's now a blog post about Luzier here on Sean's Ramblings!

Photo by @shootinthepuck

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Inflatable Fun

One of the great things about being a parent is that you can play with cool toys with your kids. Take the inflatables by Inflatable Zone for example. If I, as a grown adult, tried to go into one of these by myself, I would receive dirty looks, at best, or get forcibly removed from the premises. (Actually, if all I got were dirty looks by going on an inflatable, I think I would do it.)


Jumping in a bounce house (assuming there are no weight or height restrictions and no other small kids in proximity) with a young child? Completely acceptable and often encouraged. My two year old needs some help going down a giant inflatable slide? These are things you often have to do as a parent. Of course, I would want to go down this slide anyway, but again, this is totally acceptable if I'm going with my child. It’s fun for me and fun for my kids. A win-win!

Inflatable Zone also has games geared towards grown-ups (or at least older kids). For example, I think playing bubble soccer as illustrated by this picture would be awesome.


Now as a soccer referee, I have no idea what is going on in this picture. Neither player has their feet on the ground, nor does it appear that there is any attempt to play the ball. However, perhaps this is completely legal in bubble soccer. I want to go outside and play this now. Who's with me? Actually, bubble soccer should really be an Olympic sport. If you thought handball was fun to watch, bubble soccer would be even better. Let's extend bubble sports even more! Bubble long jump! Bubble hurdles! Bubble diving and bubble archery could be difficult, but the technology could be there in years to come. Maybe for the 2028 Olympics! I can’t wait to hear Bob Costas discuss all of these new bubble events. At the very least, there should be some type of inflatables at the Olympic Village. Seeing Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, and Allyson Felix jumping in one of these would be fun.

Now please excuse me while I plan a trip to a bounce house/climbing facility for this weekend. With my kids, of course.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Metro's Aurora Borealis

Metro has had some problems lately. This August 6th Washington Post article sums it pretty well:

In the past five weeks — just as Metro has emphasized safety and taken drastic steps to warn employees about negligence — the problems have been stark and steady: red-light violations, derailments, a botched evacuation, a report about years of degraded track conditions, a transit police officer accused of attempting to aid the Islamic State.

However, let's focus on the positive today. At the Court House Metro station in Arlington, you can see an Aurora Borealis.



I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights. Who knew you could see it underground?

This calls for a celebration with my favorite song with Aurora Borealis in the lyrics!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Drake Wears A Pens Jersey (Updated)

We've seen Matisyahu wear a Pirates hat, Joey Fatone wear a Kennywood sweatshirt, Adam Levine in a Steelers T-shirt, and Fat Joe in a Pirates jersey. We've even seen Lady Gaga wave a Terrible Towel. So performing in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, what would you expect Drake to wear?


From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Drake knows how to work a crowd, and the Toronto superstar (and Maple Leafs fan) did it masterfully Wednesday night, arriving to a sold-out house sporting a Penguins jersey. He worked Pittsburgh into virtually every song, and when he ripped off the Pens gear, he had a Pirates Marte jersey underneath.

I was going to accuse Drake of pandering to the crowd (which is completely okay), but then I saw this from The Score.

Drake made the trip down from Canada to perform at the Consol Energy Center on Wednesday, where he received quite a gift from Alexa Lemieux, daughter of team owner and hockey legend Mario Lemieux.


A gift from Mario! How could he not wear a Pens jersey?

By the way, I haven't been able to find a picture of Drake in a Marte jersey. If you have one, please send it my way.

Finally, I like the fact that the Post-Gazette photographer of the first Drake photo is Rebecca Droke. I'd like to see more Droke Drake pics!

UPDATE So the Post-Gazette asked me to remove Droke's Drake picture. Basically, the picture was copywritten to the P-G and couldn't be reused without their permission. Permission meaning a minimum licensing fee for web use of $100. Therefore, Droke's Drake picture is gone and is now replaced with the picture tweeted by Consol Energy Center.

The second photo is from Instagram.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Olympics Post

The 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles were huge across this country. I remember there being red, white, and blue everywhere, and I was completely caught up in the Olympic spirit. For me, everything was a chance to win a gold medal. The first three members of our family that touched the car: gold, silver, bronze. First one to sit down for dinner: gold, silver, and bronze. Interestingly, I always got the gold with my younger brother regularly earning a silver. My mom seemed to constantly finish in fourth. Perhaps she wasn't as patriotic as the rest of us!

Even before the Rio Olympics, my five year old (The Moose) was already very competitive. He loves playing card games or basketball on our mini hoop. He always wins (though sometimes not fairly). He'll race me up the steps and always shares what place he's in. For example, on weekend mornings, he is so proud to announce that he was the last to wake up. (You have no idea how much I want to win this particular competition!) Naturally, The Moose enjoys all of the Olympic competitions. After watching some preliminary swimming events, he created his own "pool."


According to The Moose, the swimming lanes are just like the Olympics because lane eight is closest to the screen. Apparently The Moose swims in lane 8 so everyone can see him. His brother (two year old Pedro Tulo) can't participate "because he's a baby." Oh, The Moose also shared that he's swimming for the gold because he is taking swimming lessons at Goldfish swim school.

If The Moose does make the Olympics some day, I look forward to NBC sharing this blog post. (I wonder if people in 2036 will know what a blog is.)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Video: I Want To Join Arizona State's Alpha Phi Sorority

What does going on a hot air balloon ride, learning to skateboard, taking a jeep tour in the Arizona desert, going on a helicopter ride, and paddleboarding have in common? These are all things that I never did in college. However, according to the following video, if I join Arizona State University's Alpha Phi sorority, it seems like I could do this every day!



If you weren't entertained enough by the video, I encourage you to check out the article and especially the comments on Inside Higher Ed. And yes, I realize that I'm probably the only non-academic or educational blogger that occasionally uses Inside Higher Ed for content.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Workhouse BrewFest Needs Volunteers

This Saturday (August 13th), Lorton, Virginia's Workhouse Arts Center hosts its inaugural Workhouse Brewfest. From the Workhouse website, "the event will feature nearly 100 craft brews by 30 breweries. We are excited to highlight many of our local brewers. The day will feature a dozen bands performing on three stages, numerous food trucks, lawn games, and of course, our artists will be in their galleries, which will be open for you to explore." Among the bands performing are personal favorites Dr. Fu and Herr Metal. This is going to be a lot of fun!


The event is also in need of volunteers. There are three time slots (9-1, 12:30-4 and 3:30-7), and the event could really use some help with the last shift (though any shifts worked would be greatly appreciated!). Everything you need to know about volunteering is available on the Workhouse Brewfest website. With the event only a few days away, please contact Amanda Rekenthaler directly at Amanda.Rekenthaler@FairfaxCounty.Gov to volunteer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Who Wore It Better - Part II

Breaking news: Michael Phelps is really good at swimming. But, how does the Olympic great match up against the Night's King from Game of Thrones?



So who wore it better? You make the call!


The original who wore it better between the Night King and Mike Tomlin is available here.

Phelps photo by Laszlo Balough of Reuters.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Fairfax County Makes International News

I moved to Fairfax County, Virginia 15 years ago last week. Considering that I only thought I would be here a few years, it's a bit surreal that I've now lived here full time almost as long as I lived in Pittsburgh year-round. Located in Northern Virginia, Fairfax County's population in 2015 was estimated at 1,125,385,* making the county larger than 8 states (Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming) and the District of Columbia. You don't hear much about Fairfax County since most people consider it a DC suburb and Virginia's political capital is about two hours south in Richmond. However, in just the past few days, Fairfax County has made national and even international news multiple times.

1. Last Thursday, Scott Silverthorne, mayor the city of Fairfax was arrested in your typical meth for sex bust. (I don't believe Fairfax City is technically part of Fairfax County but students living in Fairfax attend Fairfax County Public Schools. Plus, Fairfax City is completely surrounded by Fairfax County. Fairfax City is basically the Lesotho of Fairfax County!) It seems like Silverthorne was having some financial problems, so perhaps he would have been better off simply selling meth rather than trading meth for sex.

2. How do you get a Mercedes on top of Ferrari? Once you hear the first sound/crash, don't continue to back into and then on the car.



Oh, this happened in Great Falls, Virginia located in, you guessed it, Fairfax County!

3. This is an absolutely tragic story. On Saturday a dispute over chairs at a wedding led to a caterer being stabbed to death. Basically, a Fairfax County park employee thought the caterer was stealing chairs, so after an argument, he stabbed her. Tyonne Johns later died at the hospital.

4. Let's finish with some good news. Congrats to Ginny Thrasher of Springfield, Virginia (of Fairfax County) for winning the first gold medal of the Rio Olympics. The 19 year-old Thrasher won gold in the 10m Air Rifle Women's event.


* This number and lots of other fun demographic data are available on the Fairfax County website.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Stan Belinda And Jay Bell Milk Cows

Pittsburgh Pirates fans are unhappy. Over the past few days, the team traded away All-Star closer Mark Melancon, pitcher Francisco Liriano (who struggled this season but has been great for the team the past few years) and the disappointing pitcher Jon Niese. The team reduced payroll significantly and also traded away several prospects for seemingly little in return. While I'll let others debate the pros and cons of the trades, I'm taking you back to a simpler time. A happier time. Let's go back to June 1992.

Jonah Keri, formerly of Grantland and currently a baseball writer for Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports, hosts The Jonah Keri Podcast and recently welcomed ESPN's Tim Kurkjian. I really enjoyed the two sharing stories, but as a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, there was one that stood out. Kurkjian described a cow milking contest between Jay Bell and Mike Lavailliere around the 31:45 mark. Well, I needed to know more about this. This is the text from Kurkjian's Is This a Great Game, Or What?: From A-Rod's Heart to Zim's Head--My 25 Years in Baseball

They don't have cow-milking contests in the NHL, but Pirates Jay Bell and Stan Belinda, who grew up on a farm, engaged in one. "Jay lost by a quart," teammate Andy Van Slyke said. "It wouldn't have been close except Jay was pumping skim milk and Stan was doing whole milk.

I'm giving Kurkjian the benefit of the doubt for confusing Lavalliere and Belinda. I mean, this is a cow-milking contest from more than 20 years ago! But I still need to know more. Enter the June 3, 1992 Beaver County Times.


While the picture is terrible, yes, there was a cow-milking contest on the Three Rivers Stadium turf between Jay Bell and Stan Belinda. There's photographic proof!

Apparently, this wasn't their first, um, rodeo. This is from the June 1, 1991 edition of Tyrone, Pennsylvania's Tyrone Daily Herald:

Two Pittsburgh Pirates, Jay Bell and Stan Belinda, will be the featured attraction at the Sixth Annual Dairy Day in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, June 4, 1991, at Market Square. The two ballplayers will square off in a milking contest at 11 a.m. and attempt to show visitors just how to milk a cow. Bell, the Pirate's Shortstop, is also the dairy industry's spokesperson on behalf of the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program. He was recently featured on a growth chart that was distributed by the Pirates and the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program in early May. Belinda, the Pirate's Relief Pitcher, is a farm boy himself and hails from a dairy farm in central Pennsylvania

The cow involved will be provided by Marburger Farm Dairy of Evans City, Butler County. Following the milking contest, promotion visitors can treat themselves to milk and ice cream by participating in several activities. These include Bossey Toss, Pudding Making, and a Dairy "Wheel of Fortune." In addition to these activities, county Dairy Princesses will be entertaining the crowd with several skits and Woodsmoke, a country western band, will provide musical entertainment.

So many questions. What exactly were Bell's responsibilities as the dairy industry's spokesperson? Was Belinda mad that although he was a farm boy from a central PA dairy farm he wasn't the spokesperson? What is Bossey Toss? Skits from the county Dairy Princesses? Sign me up!

How I wish there was Twitter or blogs back then to cover this! Someone has to have video of this somewhere, right? I guess we can dream.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Interview With Ron Lippock: Steelers Takeaways Author

Ron Lippock runs the PGH Sports Daily website and also sends out Pittsburgh Sports Daily Bulletin e-mails with links to blogs and articles about, you guessed it, Pittsburgh sports. Ron has been nice enough to include some of my blog posts in his daily e-mail, and we got together to watch a Steelers game at a Washington DC restaurant last season. Through his website, Ron has interviewed hundreds of Pittsburgh Steelers players from over the years and recently (actually today!) released Steelers Takeaways: Players Memories Through the Decades available now at Barnes & Noble and Amazon among other places. Ron's a cool guy (it turns out that we grew up about a mile away from each other) and was nice enough to answer some questions about his book.


First, tell me and everyone reading this about your book, Steelers Takeaways.

The book was over five years in the making - 400+ Steelers interviews took forever - to find the players, get them to say yes to an interview, to conduct and transcribe the interviews…. But a lot of fun too. I tried to ask questions and approach these in ways others have not - to make it different. Not just due to the number of players - but really tried to get to the good stories, personal issues, racial religious stuff, humor/inside jokes, physical toll of the game….I was really surprised at how open players were. One reason may be that I intentionally interviewed guys only after they were out of the game. They were free to reveal - to open up and have fun. Less afraid of consequence - of upsetting the boss and giving away locker room secrets.

Ultimately I think this is what makes this different. Different, more personal approaches to the interviews and more openness on the players’ parts. And yes, I was pretty surprised and excited at just how open and revealing they were. And frankly, the vast majority, really good guys.

Also - because it literally spans seven decades of players - starting in the 50's - it really gives a great perspective of the team and it's journey to prominence over the years.


How did you get all of these former Steelers to talk with you?

It sounds funny…but I asked. And there is the what’s in it for me. I had something to offer - a captive audience of thousands of readers that helped give them reason to talk. An audience for them to discuss their businesses, foundations, to connect with their fans again….

Was there an interview where you thought to yourself "I can't believe he is saying this" or maybe even told the individual this?

A few days. Richard Huntley calling out Jerome Bettis. Roy Jefferson speaking frankly about his anger at Chuck Noll. A ton of inside jokes and stories - from Bradshaw stealing a player’s girlfriend, guys fighting on the freeway after a tough practice, player opinions of coaches, pranks….lot’s of great stories you never expect until you ask the questions and get those great responses.

Is there someone that you wished you could have interviewed for the book?

Eric Green and Mel Blount. Green because I really wanted to understand what happened after all of that talent and promise. I interviewed Troy Edwards and really came away fascinated and how open he was about why things didn’t work out. Those stories interest me greatly. Mel Blount as well - because he’s done so much good since the game and influences the game when he played so much.

Now that you published Steelers Takeaways, will we see a Pirates Takeaways, Penguins Takeaways, or Maulers Takeaways?


Oh wow the Maulers idea is brilliant. If only there were enough people who cared about them! I was so excited when they launched, Pirates maybe….I have interviewed former Pirates and Penguins players - but the Penguins guys are tough because there are so many that are scattered all over the world - it being such an international sport. It's hard to find those guys.

Oh - and the time…I don't know if I have that many interviews left in me!

Churchill Chargers for life! (I understand that this isn't really a question.)

Ok - now this REALLY ages me. I was there when Churchill went through “The Merger” {cue ominous music). That was when we turned into Woodland Hills. Churchill was an “ok” team before then - but now it’s a powerhouse as Woodland Hills. Clearly, they needed me out there playing….I was too busy being too small and buying pads at Walmart because none of the pads were small enough to fit me!

Where was there a Walmart near us? I don't think the Walmart in North Versailles opened until much later as there were two bowling alleys across the street from each other. If you got pads, they were from Hills or Gold Circle!

Maybe it was K-Mart? Remember we did have one of those near us!


Thanks again to Ron for answering my questions and asking so many questions over the years. Please get his book! You can also follow him on Twitter @PittsburghSport.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Video: The Sound

Before we get to the Friday video, a few site updates. Early next week, I'm excited to share an interview I conducted with a brand new author and someone I met to watch a Steelers game last fall. It turns out that we grew up about a mile away from each other, so there's some fun anecdotes about Pittsburgh's eastern suburbs. I've also been away for much of July, so I'll have a blog post or two about traveling with kids.

Your Friday video is The Sound by The 1975. I'm all for a band named in honor of my birth year. Anyway, I was actually awake on a spring Saturday evening and saw the band perform this song on Saturday Night Live. I enjoyed it, and then I didn't hear the song again until the last week or two.



By the way, what's wrong with Huey Lewis? I like his work with The News.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Video: The Sound of Silence

When I first heard Disturbed's cover of Simon and Garfunkel's classic song "The Sound of Silence," my initial reaction was what the heck* is this? Now that I've heard it a few more times, it's really grown on me. This version is a bit haunting but with the same outstanding lyrics from 50 years ago. So now, here's Disturbed with my all-time favorite 2016 cover of a song from 1964.




* I used a word other than heck.