Thursday, May 29, 2008

Breaking News: Bear Sighting

I woke up yesterday in Orlando to the following news: A young bear was spotted outside the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando. Every local news station followed this breaking news story including at least one station providing live helicopter coverage. Of course, all anyone saw was pictures of the Hard Rock's pool. To prove that I am not making this up, here is the story from WFTV.

As of this morning, the bear has not been found, but the Hard Rock pool remains closed. The helicopters are back to showing unexciting traffic instead of pictures of the empty pool.

All I know is this...let the bears pay the bear tax; I pay the Homer tax. (That's home owner tax!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Live From Orlando

Hello from Florida. I wish I could share an exciting story about my flight from Dulles to Orlando but it was uneventful and a shuffleboard tournament starts at 4:30. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I’m too late for the shuffleboard tournament. Oh well.


In response to lacochran’s comment about mah jongg, here is some of Wednesday’s activities:

Aquafusion (fitness in the pool) – 10:00 AM

Underwater Treasure Dive – noon

Poolside Puppet Palooza Show – 2 PM

Creative Coloring T-shirts – 2:30 PM

Dive-in Movie: Alvin & The Chipmunks – 8 PM

It’s too bad I have to work.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Detroit Red Wings Job Opening

Although we are in the midst of the Stanley Cup finals, the Detroit Red Wings are advertising for a job opening. No, this is not a joke about the age of defensemen Chris Chelios, who was a healthy scratch in game one, and the fact that it may be time for him to retire.


Instead, the Red Wings are seeking a Director of Group Sales. This makes some sense as the team has struggled with attendance this season (as noted by Sports Illustrated and in my experience attending a game in December) despite being the best team during the regular season and now advancing to the NHL finals.

The Director of Group Sales position requires a Bachelor's degree with preferred concentration in communications, journalism, marketing, business, and/or management and five years related industry experience and/or training. Some of the responsibilities include:

• Coordinate programs that will maximize event ticket sales to groups, including but not limited to school organizations, senior citizen organizations, tour and travel organizations, corporate groups and special interest groups.
• Oversee and administer the Group Sales Department budget.
• Hire, train and manage staff of Group Sales representatives.
• Manage schedule of activities on a per-event basis. These include creating a sales plan, budget and timeline, tracking sales and compiling a post-event report.
• Represent the department at industry events and trade shows, when applicable.
• Act as an ambassador for the company, both internally and externally. (i.e. Make sure Chris Osgood stops lying.)

If you’re interested in working for the Red Wings, click here for more information about the Director of Group Sales position.

The photoshop of Chris Chelios is courtesy of The Pensblog.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Edyta vs. George Novak

During Tuesday night’s Dancing with the Stars finale, Jason Taylor said that his dance partner Edyta Sliwinska, was the best coach he had ever had. (Yes, I’m admitting that I watched the season finale. Before you make fun of me, how many of you can say that someone who played sports at your high school was a finalist on Dancing with the Stars? I thought so!) Therefore, I thought we should go back and compare Edyta to Taylor’s Woodland Hills High School football coach, George Novak.


- Woodland Hills High School football coach for over 20 years
- WPIAL (Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League) Championships in 1996, 1999, 2001 and 2002.
- NFL players from Woodland Hills coached by Novak include Taylor, Ryan Mundy, Shawntae Spencer, Lousaka Polite and Steve Breaston.
- Has never won the PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) championship.


- Dancer for over 15 years.
- Emerald Ball Latin Amateur Champion; 1st place - 2001 International Grand Ball (San Francisco); and 1st Place - 2001 Holiday Ball (Las Vegas, Nevada).
- Dancing partners include Taylor, Evander Holyfield, George Hamilton, Joey Lawrence and John Ratzenberger
- Appeared on all six seasons of Dancing with the Stars but has never won.


I’ll give the edge to Edyta simply because she is in much better shape than Novak (and since she would probably know not to run the ball while your team was trailing on a 4th and long late in fourth quarter).

Meanwhile, Nick Saban believes that he was the best coach Taylor ever had.



When asked about Saban, the jovial Taylor abruptly changed his expression and simply said, "Release giant JT."



If you want to see more pictures of Edyta, she has her own website and Myspace page. If you want to see more pictures of Novak, you’re out of luck. There don’t seem to be many pictures of him on the internet.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Secret Handshake?

Perhaps you have seen this picture of Sidney Crosby shaking hands with Mario Lemieux after the Pittsburgh Penguins’ victory against Philadelphia on Sunday.



Although only two people who read Sean's Ramblings may understand this, doesn’t Sidney’s handshake look familiar? Are Crosby and Lemieux honorary members of a certain youth organization? I’m scared to reveal anymore, although I guess I could provide a link in case you really want to know what I’m writing about.

Ancient Chinese secret, huh?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Trip to the Preakness

I attended my first ever Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore over the weekend, and had an amazing time. However, there were some, um, interesting moments:

A game of beer-can volleyball broke out when someone flung a brew from on top of an outhouse. That, the surrounding masses realized, looked like jolly good fun. And soon the sky filled with silver-and-foam, the silver signifying surprisingly heavy vessels of lite beer, the foam showing that this lite beer anxiously wished to come out and join the party.

Six, seven, eight cans were volleyed back and forth simultaneously, some being consumed after their fleshy landings, others taking flight again. Some infielders shielded their heads with Styrofoam coolers. Others joined forces, hoisting a giant blue tarp to ward off the incoming fermentable attack.

One man proudly showed off what he claimed was a beer-can related broken finger. Another yanked a can out of mid-air, consumed its contents and chomped the defeated can between his jaws. A young woman face's snapped back after impact; she shook her head and managed a timid laugh.

The game was interrupted occasionally by a less subtle form of hostility, shirtless men beating each other upon the face, then hugging, then beating some more. Solidarity peeked around every corner; when the fights faded, the shirtless punchers clumped into wobbly kick-lines and joined voices in soccer's iconic "Ole" song.

But then solidarity slunk back into the mud, fists flew again, and chests already painted with mud and lite-beer added bright crimson highlights.

"I always love watching the fights," one bystander mused philosophically, as two shirtless fellows went careening into the row of porta-potties.


Actually, these last few paragraphs were written by Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post from his experiences at Pimlico’s infield. While I did see several people attempt to run across the tops of porta-potties and lots of silver items being thrown in the air (apparently they were beer cans), I did so from the last row of the Grandstands near the top of the stretch. I spent time watching the races, seeing women wear cute sundresses with ridiculous hats and listening to vendors yell in their attempts to sell Black-Eyed Susans. I wish I could write that I won a lot of money, and I did end up hitting an exacta in an early race (I actually thought I lost until one of my friends told me I won), but overall, I ended up down about $20. Watching Big Brown win in such an impressive fashion was also amazing, although at the time, I was disappointed about how poorly my exacta selections along with Big Brown finished (I’m looking at you Gayego and Hey Byrn).

I wish I could come up with my usual funny observations, but it was just a fun time at the track with friends. The closest I came to the experiences of those on the infield came on bus ride back to the Baltimore metro. We almost got into a fight (it wasn’t actually that close) with obnoxious drunks who cut in front of the bus line and then yelled and talked non-stop during the ride.

Actually, I do have one odd question/observation. Did the Los Angeles Dodgers sell their old seats to Pimlico? All of the seats in our section had "LA" on the side.

Anyway, if you want to see video of the infield madness, check out Friends of the Program and more pictures are at Deadspin. I’m way too old to every go in there.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stanley Cup Finals Schedule

The 2008 Stanley Cup finals schedule between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings is set. All games start at 8:00pm Eastern with the first two games airing on Versus and the remaining games on NBC.

Game 1: Saturday, May 24 at Detroit

Game 2: Monday, May 26 at Detroit

Game 3: Wednesday, May 28 at Pittsburgh

Game 4: Saturday, May 31 at Pittsburgh

Game 5: Monday, June 2 at Detroit*

Game 6: Wednesday, June 4 at Pittsburgh*

Game 7: Saturday, June 7 at Detroit*

* if necessary

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Iceman



In honor of the Penguins reaching the Stanley Cup finals, here is a funny clip of Pascal Dupuis as the Iceman.

A clearer version of this video is available at the 2:24 mark of this Post-Gazette link.

Ithaca vs. Cortland

Several times over the past few years I have written about the annual Cortaca Jug football game between Ithaca College and SUNY-Cortland once dubbed "The Biggest Little Game in the Nation" by Sports Illustrated. Although football season is still several months away, Ithaca and Cortland will face each other twice on Sunday in some of the biggest athletic match-ups between the two schools in their histories. The sports: men’s lacrosse and women’s softball.

In lacrosse, #7 IC (17-2) and #2 Cortland (17-1) meet in the Division III semi-final today at 1:00. Cortland’s only loss this season: a 9-8 loss to Ithaca on March 22. The Ithaca Journal has a full preview and WSYR in Syracuse and WBNG in Binghamton show how each team made it this far.

One hour earlier, the #4 seed Cortland faces the #6 seed Ithaca in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship. There are only six teams remaining in the double-elimination tournament, and the loser of this match will return to upstate New York. Cortland’s and Ithaca’s sports websites explain how each team got here.



Go Bombers!!

P.S. Oh, the Penguins and Flyers also meet today for game 5.

UPDATE SUNDAY NIGHT: Cortland convincingly defeated Ithaca in men’s lacrosse 16-5, but IC’s softball team handled the Red Dragons 8-1.

In addition, in case you haven’t heard, the Penguins are going to the Stanley Cup finals!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Three Member Band Quiz

Welcome to another quiz, this one created by the folks at Stump Trivia from Monday night’s trivia. Your challenge is to name the three member band. As always, please do not use the internet for the answers. Either you know it or you don’t.

1. Gordon Sumner, Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland

2. Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Drint, Tre Cool

3. Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard

4. Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart

5. Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker

6. Bradley Nowell, Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson

7. Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, Tom DeLonge

8. Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl

9. Tionne Watkins, Lisa Lopes, Rozonda Thomas

10. Pete Loeffler, Sam Loeffler and Dean Bernardini

A virtual gold star to anyone who correctly answers #10. Just for fun, I’ve also added two bonus questions that were not part of the trivia night.

Bonus #1. Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, Jason Mizell

Bonus #2. Robert Sledge, Darren Jessee, Benjamin Scott Folds

In case you were wondering, we got eight out of ten correct and really should have got 9 of 10. Good luck and have fun!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Jokeblog

The title of this post is a word commonly used on the greatest hockey blog in the world, The Pensblog, in reference to the guy holding the sign in the picture below.



Actually, I guess the "You’re Not That Good" sign is meant for the Flyers’ center Daniel Briere or perhaps the entire Flyers team.

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Birthday Wishes

Dear Sean:

We were honored to grant you one of your holiday wishes.

Sincerely,

Sidney, Pascal, Marc-Andre, Hal, Sergei, Adam, Marian, Tyler, Georges, Kris, Evgeni, Ryan, Brooks, Jarkko, Rob, Jordan, Petr, Maxime, Ryan, Ty, Gary, Jeff, Kris, Dany, Darryl, Michel & Mario.



Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Free Birthday Food

Inspired by my birthday (which just happens to be today), I have compiled a list of restaurants that offer free food for your birthday. Please note that when I write "with certificate" below, it means that I received an e-mail from the restaurant for signing up on their mailing list. The "certificate" is required for the free food.

Red Robin – Free Gourmet Burger with certificate – (received e-mail 5/6; expires 5/20)

Austin Grill – Complimentary Entrée with certificate – (received e-mail 5/6; expires 5/20)

Silver Diner – Complimentary Entrée and a Piece of Birthday Cake with certificate and Blueplate Club card. Valid with the purchase of an additional entrée. (received e-mail 5/1; expires 6/1)

California Tortilla – Free burrito (good only on the day of your birthday)

McCormick & Schmick’s – Free Signature Desert with certificate and purchase of an entrée (received 5/6; expires 5/27)

Baskin Robbins – Free 2.5 oz. scoop if ice cream with certificate (received e-mail 5/8; expired 5/18).

Mamma Lucia – Free desert with purchase of at least two dinner entrees (received 5/6; expires 30 days from receipt of e-mail).

Dairy Queen – Free 16 oz. Blizzard with certificate and purchase of another 16 oz. Blizzard (received 5/6; expires 5/25)

Texas de Brazil – Complimentary dinner with certificate and purchase of a full price dinner (received 5/6; expires 6/5; not valid on Saturdays)

Moe’s Southwest Grill – Free entrée with certificate (I don't know more about this offer.)

Coldstone Creamery - I think free ice cream, but I cannot confirm.

Noodles & Company - I think a free entrée, but, again, I cannot confirm.

While this list is better than my attempt at this last year, there are many, many more restaurants out there that offer free food for your birthday. That’s where I need your help. Please leave any other suggestions for restaurants (preferably in the Washington DC area) that have free birthday meals in the comments section. Thanks!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Stupid Rain

I have been a strong proponent of the new turf fields for soccer over the past few years. They handle wear and tear significantly better than the normal grass fields and you are able to play games the day after a heavy rain where the grass fields may still be unplayable.

As of today, I have changed my mind. I worked three games as a soccer referee on Sunday on a turf field. Although the weather for first game was fine, the rain started during the second match. It was a cold and steady rain, but the conditions were certainly playable. By the third game, the steady rain became a downpour. Any game on a grass field would have been called due to unsafe muddy conditions. However, the turf field was unfazed by the multiple inches of rain. During halftime of this game, I actually asked my assistant referees whether we could call the game. Unfortunately, we determined that the only way we could cancel the game was for lightning.

When I left the field, every part of my clothes and body were wet. I decided the drive home in my cleats because I didn’t want to open my bag to get out shoes. I didn’t even want to open my bag to get my car keys! Even though I have been home now for two hours, I am still somewhat miserable. I hear the rain continue to come down, but at least I'm comfortable wearing my Homer Simpson slippers.

Of course, if the Penguins win tonight, I’ll be in an excellent mood!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Referrals

Here are a few links to get you through your Friday:

- The 25 Best of “Best of” Albums. What a surprise that The Beatles and The Rolling Stones finished #1 and #2.

- This is both an inspiring and sad story about an 18-year-old dying from cancer titled "Teen is running out of innings, but the game still isn't over."

- Chico Harlan is going to from writing G’Day from Tomorrow for the Post-Gazette (I think he also wrote some in the sports section) to the Washington Post (go about half-way down this chat) to be the Nationals beat reporter. Another Pittsburgher moving to the DC metro area.

- At some point, I may or may not write about my experiences at the new Nationals stadium during last week’s Pirates game. The short story is that I bought four $18 tickets on StubHub for less than $7 each. While waiting for friends at the stadium, someone handed my brother two free tickets. Ten minutes later, another guy gave us three free tickets. This is a brand new stadium and people are giving away tickets! More about the poor attendance at the Nationals stadium in this Yahoo article.

- The top ten worst franchises in pro sports. A Pittsburgh team is #1 and it is not the USFL's Pittsburgh Maulers.

- Google has a link to support disaster relief in Myanmar (Burma).

Finally, I have added the following great links on the right. Check them out!
- Kevin’s Crazy World
- Lacochran’s Bloggery
- Going Five Hole

I'm working on something big that will be posted on Monday or Tuesday, so stay tuned for for more information.

Go Pens!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I Want To Be a Sell Out

Unless you count the Google ads on the side of this page, Sean’s Ramblings does not have any sponsors. In fact, in the 3+ years of this site, I have earned exactly $0, although I did receive a free book and DVD. Instead of hoping that companies contact me to place an ad, I thought I would do the opposite and post information about businesses I like and would be happy to have as a sponsor.

Wegmans – The greatest grocery store of all time.

Guppie Boutique – Primarily sells infant and toddler clothes and accessories. Run by ex-Pittsburghers.

Let’s Eat (specifically the Johns Creek/Alpharetta, Georgia location) – Provides customers with family dinners, sides, appetizers and desserts for in-store assembly or pick-up. There are several of these types of places around, but I’m singling out this location since it is also run by an ex-Pittsburgher.

California Tortilla – Long-time readers know my affinity for this restaurant. Besides serving great food, I love their promotions such as Pop Tart Day and free burritos for the first ten people in line for a grand opening. (Yes, I would still like to sell my free burrito coupons; there are only about 15 left!)

Any major corporation, television show or movie company – The exposure of your ad on this site could be worth millions (millions of what, I don’t know).

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place Review

Perhaps you have heard the news that Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds are engaged. Who would have thought ten years ago that the star of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place would be engaged to one of the hottest young actresses in Hollywood? The answer would be no one since Johansson was only 13 at the time. That would be like a 14 year-old Katie Holmes saying that one day she would marry Tom Cruise, 16 years her elder. Ridiculous! Anyway, 10 years after the debut of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, let’s take a look back.

The plot of Two Guys (I’m going to shorten the title instead of typing it over and over again) was simple enough. There were three twenty-somethings, ironically one girl and two guys, who lived in the same apartment building and hung around a pizza place. The guys were Pete (Richard Ruccolo), a neurotic architecture student and Berg (Ryan Reynolds), the laid-back pre-med. Sharon (Traylor Howard) was a tough girl with a soft center. (I took this line as well as the descriptions of Pete and Berg directly from the IMDB plot summary). In my mind, Two Guys was an underrated show. ABC never knew exactly what to do with it and the show was somewhat limited by the long and self-explanatory title. By the third season, the show was re-titled "Two Guys and a Girl" and later moved to an awful Friday night timeslot. Two Guys may have been a precursor to How I Met Your Mother. If you think about it, would there have been a HIMYM without Two Guys? The answer is probably yes, but I like asking nonsensical questions occasionally.



The cast of Two Guys has done quite well from the humble beginnings. Reynolds is now engaged to Scarlett Johansson (if you happened to miss the first line of this post) and has had a very successful film career. Although he is not an A-list actor, Reynolds would definitely fit in the A- or B+ category. Reynolds starred in Definitely, Maybe, Van Wilder and Just Friends and had significant supporting roles in Smokin’ Aces, Blade: Trinity and The In-Laws. With Reynolds starring in the 2009 release of X-Men Origins with Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber coupled with the fact that he is engaged to Johansson, the future is very bright for Berg.

Unless you count the quickly cancelled Bram and Alice (not this Bram), Traylor Howard has had only one noteworthy role since Two Guys. However, the role is in the critically acclaimed USA show Monk starring Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub. In my book, 50+ episodes on a sitcom is a success.

Nathan Fillion, who was neither of the two guys in the tile, is one of those actors that you know by his picture but not by name. He’s been on Desperate Housewives, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Drive (which did not last as long as Bram and Alice) and an episode of Lost. Fillion also played the leading male role in Waitress and is the voice of Sarge in Halo 3. That would be a cool gig.

I would write that Richard Ruccolo, the guy in the title not named Ryan Reynolds, has not had a successful post-Two Guys career except that he was engaged to Tiffani-Amber Thiessen. That has to be worth something, right?

Suzanne Cryer also appeared in 39 episodes as Berg’s girlfriend who fought regularly with Pete, but let’s not talk much about her career. Actually, she has had roles in dozens of television shows included Desperate Housewives, Frasier, ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Bones and the Drew Carey Show. Unfortunately, she only seems to appear in one episode.

Based on my trip down the Two Guys memory lane, I’m sure that you share the same question that I have: will Howard, Fillion, Ruccolo or Cryer be invited to the wedding?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Penguins-Flyers Storylines

Now that the Pittsburgh Penguins have defeated the New York Rangers, we can all focus on the Eastern conference final between the Pens and the Philadelphia Flyers. For those of you seeking storylines for the series, let me be of assistance of what you will hear from sportscasters and writers over the next week.

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are both located in Pennsylvania, or some variation of this such as the battle of Pennsylvania or the Keystone State rivalry. Let’s face it: this is truly a battle between fans that choose pop versus fans who say soda.

In the Eastern conference semi-finals, Jordan Staal of the Penguins defeated his older brother Marc Staal of the Rangers. Jordan Staal has no siblings on the Flyers. (Or does he? [dramatic pause] No he does not.)

The Flyers’ R.J. Umberger is the Pittsburgh area. Specifically, Umberger is from Plum, which was on of the high schools that my high school faced regularly in sporting events (the last part will not be mentioned during any broadcasts).

Former Penguin Joe Mullen is now an assistant coach for the Flyers.

The last time the Penguins and Flyers met in the playoffs was the 1999-2000 season when the Flyers defeated Pittsburgh 4-2 in the conference semi-finals. The Penguins fourth leading playoff scorer during that post-season? Janne Laukkanen. (This useless piece of trivia will also not be discussed during any playoff coverage. In case you were wondering, Jagr led the Pens with 16 points in 11 playoff games followed by Martin Straka and Jan Hrdina with 12 points each.) Personally, I hope Versus or NBC shows footage of the epic 1989 series when the Flyers defeated the Penguins in seven games in the Patrick Division finals.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are both young and very good.

The last name of Philadelphia’s Joffrey Lupul is a palindrome.

Riley Cote (202 penalty minutes during the regular season) and Georges Laraque (1,037 career penalty minutes) could fight. Of course, Laraque may be practicing more yoga lately as he amazingly has no penalty minutes so far this postseason.

Five words: What Would Gary Roberts Do?

(from The Pensblog)

Finally, Empty Netters has posted the Eastern conference finals schedule. Game one on Friday, May 9 in Pittsburgh.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

She’s Just Being Miley

In addition to more upbeat stories about the economy and the fact that Rev. Jeremiah Wright won’t go away, one of the major news items this week was the Miley Cyrus pictures taken by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair. While I think everyone involved is in the wrong, that’s not what I am writing about. Instead, Miley Cyrus being in the news seems like the perfect time for me to embarrass myself (again) by writing that I really like a Hannah Montana song.

I listen to Yahoo! radio at work occasionally switching between the Big Hits of the 80s station and Today’s Top Hits so that I can stay current with what the kids listen to (which judging by American Idol this week, seems to be Neil Diamond; this bodes well for the future of our country). Knowing popular music also helps during trivia night, but I digress. Several weeks ago, a song came on with the first line "I got my heart set on you." While this line is nothing special, it sounded very similar to the start of Corey Hart’s classic "Sunglasses at Night" ("I wear my sunglasses at night"). After a few lines of the new song, a catchy beat emerges and I found myself wondering who sang the song. I was a bit surprised to learn that the song is "See You Again" by none other than Miley Cyrus. My initial reaction was embarrassment. How could I, a 32 year-old without kids, like a Hannah Montana song? Only 10 year-old girls who watch the Disney Channel like Hannah Montana songs. I do not fall into this demographic. The next day, I turned on Yahoo’s Teen Pop just to hear the song again. In case you were wondering, Bananarama was also played on this station. What current teens have even heard the song Venus?

Anyway, there’s not much more to write. I freely admit that I like a Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus song. It’s not something that I’m necessary proud of, but it’s true.